A radical Muslim preacher was arrested in the northern city of Milan on Thursday, sources close to Milan's Muslim community told Adnkronos International (AKI). Italy's top appeals court on Wednesday jailed Egyptian-born Abu Imad on terrorism charges.
The imam, who previously led prayers at Milan’s central mosque was taken to police headquarters and was to be transferred to the city’s San Vittore prison, the sources told AKI.
Imad was the imam at Milan’s Viale Jenner mosque until early 2009 but was not previously arrested. Under Italian law, suspects can remain at liberty until they have completed their appeal, if a judge does not consider they are likely to flee the country or tamper with any evidence against them.
Italy’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation, on Wednesday upheld a previous prison sentence imposed on Imad by a Milan court in December 2007.
The court sentenced Imad to three years and eight months in prison for conspiracy to carry out a terrorist act.
Ten other people were also jailed for the same offence, receiving sentences that varied from two to 10 years, while four others were acquitted due to lack of evidence.
Milan prosecutors had asked for jail terms ranging from four years and six months to 15 years for all the defendants.
Imad and his co-defendants had allegedly set up a Salafite cell that was active in Milan and elsewhere in the northern Lombardy region.
The cell’s mission is believed to have been recruiting suicide bombers, trafficking illegal immigrants and indoctrination.
The Viale Jenner mosque has been linked to Islamist terrorism several times but has so far managed to avoid closure, despite a July 2008 order from the government.