Monday, November 19, 2007

Romanian man convicted on terrorism charges sentenced to 12 years in prison

The Associated Press Published: November 15, 2007

TIMISOARA, Romania: A Romanian man convicted of plotting a car bomb attack was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Thursday. Ioan Florin Lesch was found guilty of planning to carry out a car bomb attack in the western city of Timisoara to protest the country's alliance with the United States in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lesch planned to detonate the car in a public place in Timisoara, authorities said. Lesch was arrested in June 2006 after police stopped his car outside the city. Inside the vehicle, officers found two gas canisters connected to an improvised detonator that was designed to be triggered by a mobile telephone to cause an explosion. He was convicted on terrorism and attempted murder charges.

His lawyer, Paula Ardelean, said Lesch would appeal the conviction. He maintains he is innocent. Before his arrest, Lesch, who is a convert to Islam, allegedly posted anti-Western and anti-Israeli messages on the Internet calling for religious warfare, authorities said. He also allegedly threatened to attack U.S. bases that would be set up in Romania under an agreement between the two countries. Romania has about 500 troops in Iraq and in 800 peacekeepers in Afghanistan. Terms of Use

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