[JURIST] Trial proceedings began Monday in Turkey for Syrian al Qaeda militant Loa'i Mohammad Haj Bakr al-Saqa [BBC report], who is charged with masterminding and securing finances for the November 2003 bombings in Istanbul [BBC report]. Security forces say that al-Saqa was a bomb making expert and a top figure in Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network in Turkey. He was apprehended in the city of Diyanbakir this past August as he attempted to board a plane for Istanbul under a false identity.
Dozens of security forces were present at the Monday hearing, and the judge hearing the case ordered al-Saqa to leave the courtroom [AP report] for contempt of court after he refused to stand to address the court. Al-Saqa's lawyer, Osman Karahan, has also been charged with aiding and abetting al Qaeda, and the court has banned Karahan from representing al-Saqa. This is one of more than seventy trials [JURIST report] that have taken place in connection with the bombings. Reuters has more.