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Accused 'planned skyscraper attack'

By CNN Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman
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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- The trial of 11 Pakistani men accused of terrorist activities and conspiracy to carry out attacks in Barcelona was delayed for 24 hours Monday after two defense lawyers said they had not had proper access to their clients.

The court had been in session only 15 minutes when Judge Manuela Fernandez ordered the postponement.

The trial is being held in a secure basement courtroom at the National Court in central Madrid, with one layer of bulletproof glass separating the public from the court, and the defendants sitting in a bulletproof glass enclosure, except when testifying.

The men were arrested in Barcelona in 2004, accused of having links to al Qaeda and plans to attack twin skyscrapers on Barcelona's Mediterranean coast and a shopping center in the city's old port area, according to a copy of the prosecutor's charges, viewed by CNN.

Three of the defendants -- Mohammad Afzaal, 42, and Shazad Ali Gutjar, 36, and Aslam Choudry Mohammad, 47 -- are considered prime suspects in the case.

Prosecutors want each of the three sentenced to 32 years in prison for their alleged leadership roles in a terrorist group, conspiracy to carry out attacks, drug trafficking and money laundering.

The other eight are facing lesser charges and sentences. The trial of all 11 defendants could last about three weeks and a verdict could come later this spring, a court source told CNN.

The prosecution alleges that two of the prime suspects transferred thousands of dollars to al Qaeda operatives involved in other attacks.

According to the prosecution, Gutjar wired nearly $5,000 in separate transactions in 2004 to Amjad Farooqi and Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan, two men alleged to have ties to the 2002 kidnapping and killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in Pakistan.

A source told CNN that Farooqi is believed to have been involved in the kidnapping that led to the killing of Pearl. Separately, a court source told CNN that Farooqi was killed in a police shootout in Nawasbsha, Pakistan, in September 2004, a month after Gutjar allegedly wired him about $1,200.

Khan was arrested by Pakistani police in July 2004, two months after Gutjar allegedly wired him about $3,600, the court source said.

The prosecution also said Gutjar transferred more than $13,200 in May 2004 to Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who has been linked the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Ghailani was arrested two months after the wire transfer in Gujrat, Pakistan, the court source said.

Gutjar is also believed to have met with one of the defendants in the Madrid train bombings trial, Moroccan-born Othman el-Gnaoui, around the time of the attacks in 2004, the court source said.

The prosecution has also linked Afzaal with the Madrid attacks, which killed 191 people. According to the prosecution, Afzaal wired about $2,900 to Egyptian-born Rabei Osman el Sayed Ahmed, 35, alias Mohamed the Egyptian, who is also on trial for the bombings, accused of being a mastermind of the plot.

The prosecution says some of the defendants on trial sent an additional $900,000 in transfers to other unidentified people, using telephone stores run by defendant Aslam Chouhdry Mohammad.

That was the same system used to make transfers to the suspects identified as being linked to the Daniel Pearl kidnapping and the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa.

In the trial, the prosecution seeks 24 years in jail for defendants Qamaruz Zaman, 41, and Farhat Iqbal, 28, for membership in a terrorist group, conspiracy to carry out attacks, drug trafficking and document forgery.

For the remaining six defendants, the prosecution seeks 22 years each in prison for membership in a terrorist group, conspiracy to commit attacks and drug trafficking.

The six were identified as Adnan Aslam, 27; Akhtar Masood, 36; Shafqat Ali, 36; Ahmad Khan Nasser, 52; Mahmood Anwar, 38; and Irfan Kahn, 36.

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