The Criminal Court in the Casablanca region of Algeria sentenced on November 8 Muslim Brotherhood leader, Ahsan Zarrouqan, codenamed ‘Abi Dahdah Jalib’, to 20 years in prison.
The court also deprived Zarrouqan of his political rights.
Zarrouqan was arrested at the end of last year.
List of charges
The court convicted Zarrouqan of a number of charges, including joining a terrorist group, possessing firearms without a license, premeditated murder, and possessing explosives.
According to the reports of the Ministry of the Interior, Zarrouqan hails from Bouira province in eastern Algeria.
He began his terrorist activity in 1993, exactly when the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Salvation Front started launching armed attacks against Algerian security forces and civilians.
Zarrouqan joined the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, a subsidiary of the Salvation Front, at the end of the 1990s.
The group was created as a result of escalating confrontations between the front and Algerian security forces during that period.
The group then swore allegiance to al-Qaeda, thus turning Zarrouqan into a prominent element of al-Qaeda in the Maghreb region.
Zarrouqan was, however, among the senior leaders who decided to defect from al-Qaeda in the late 1990s.
He said the intensifying siege around Bouira by the Algerian army was among the reasons why he decided to defect from al-Qaeda.
He told his interrogators that he was instructed by the then-al-Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to leave Algeria altogether.
Al-Zawahiri, he said, wanted him to escape the tightening noose of the Algerian army.
Zarrouqan pledged allegiance to ISIS at the beginning of 2014.
He carried out a series of terrorist attacks inside Algeria at orders from the command of this terrorist organization.
He said the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to sow the seeds of unrest throughout Algeria.
The group, he added, wanted to incite Algerians to take up arms against police and the army.