TUNIS, APRIL 24 - Algeria's criminal court on Tuesday condemned Moctar Belmoctar to death in absentia for his part in the bloody siege at a gas field in Amenas in January. Belmoctar, believed to be the mastermind behind the attack, had been presumed dead after an air raid in Mali, although France has never confirmed this and his fate remains shrouded in mystery.
Five of Belmoctar's alleged lieutenants from the ranks of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, received death sentences in absentia. Terrorists seized control of the Tiguentourine gas field in the province of Illizi in south east Algeria on January 15. Thirty-seven foreign hostages and one Algerian security guard died during the siege and the attackers were killed during the rescue operation. Five foreigners are still unaccounted for.(ANSAmed).