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Relatives defend terror suspect

An alleged terrorist financier's wife and sister yesterday took the stand in the High Criminal Court to defend him.

The Bahraini, 43, is on trial with four other men for allegedly plotting attacks on the US Navy base in Bahrain, two palaces and Bahrain International Airport.

All five have pleaded not guilty and relatives of the 43-year-old, who is also charged with funding and establishing the terrorist cell, yesterday told judges that he was innocent.

"My husband works as a registrar at a health centre in Bilad Al Qadeem," his wife said as she appeared as a witness.

"His salary is not big enough for him to fund or establish a terrorist group.

"He can only afford to support us and he does not even take part in illegal gatherings."

The defendant's sister described him as a "peaceful" person. "He is very peaceful and does not involve himself in politics or rioting," she said.

"I know him well enough, he would never be part of a terrorist cell."

The five suspects were arrested following a police investigation into an increasing number of riots in Bahrain's villages.

A first lieutenant told prosecutors the defendants' names had been supplied by sources.

"During my investigation I came across a man who established and funded a terrorist cell, according to information provided by sources.

"We then found out that four men had joined the cell. They would communicate with each other using the BlackBerry service under false identities.

"They planned to carry out terrorist attacks on the US Navy base, Safriya Palace and Gudaibiya Palace.

"They planned to go to the base to take pictures. Bahrain International Airport was also a target, but we arrested them before they could carry out anything."

All five defendants are also accused of stealing cars and torching them on key highways.

Prosecutors say three of them, including the 43-year-old earlier admitted to the charges during questioning. The trial was adjourned until February 18.

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