Mystery surrounds conviction of alleged Belgian spy in Morocco



A court in Sale, Morocco, has sentenced to life a Belgian national of Moroccan origin, who Belgian media claim was a “golden informant” for the Belgian secret services. Moroccan authorities arrested Abdelkader Belliraj, 50, in early 2008, and charged him with a plethora of criminal offenses, including armed robbery, money laundering and arms smuggling. More importantly, Belliraj is accused of participating in at least six killings carried out in Belgium by Abu Nidal in the 1980s and early 1990s, supplying arms to the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front, and leading a militant group aiming to overthrow the government of Morocco. Interestingly, however, in March of 2008, Belgian newspaper De Tijd reported that Belliraj had acted as an invaluable informant for Belgium’s State Security Service (SV/SE) and had recently supplied information that helped foil a bomb attack in a Western European country. De Tijd’s revelation was soon followed by a report by Belgium’s VTM television station, which cited unnamed intelligence sources in claiming that Belliraj had been a paid SV/SE informant for nearly a decade. It is worth noting that Alain Winants, director of SV/SE, attempted to put an end to the revelations by filing an official complaint against the newspaper and the TV station, citing potential damage to Belgian national security. Observers are now trying to assess whether Abdelkader Belliraj was really a Belgian informant, who was mistakenly arrested in the line of duty, or whether the Moroccan-born Belgian national was a double spy working for Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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