Nizar Trabelsi

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Nizar Trabelsi
Personal information
Full name Nizar ben Abdelaziz Trabelsi
Date of birth (1970-07-02) 2 July 1970 (age 47)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989–1990 Fortuna Düsseldorf
1992 Wuppertaler SV
1992 1. FC Wülfrath
1993 SV 09/35 Wermelskirchen
1993–1994 VfR Neuss
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Nizar ben Abdelaziz Trabelsi (born 2 July 1970) is a Tunisian former professional footballer. In 2003, he was convicted as terrorist and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for his association with Al-Qaida, and for plotting to attack US targets including American soldiers stationed at the Belgian airbase Kleine Brogel Air Base.[1]

Football career[edit]

Trabelsi played in Germany for Fortuna Düsseldorf, Wuppertaler SV, 1. FC Wülfrath, SV 09/35 Wermelskirchen and VfR Neuss, as a midfielder.[2]

Association with Al-Qaida[edit]

Trabelsi had traveled to Afghanistan and met Osama bin Laden on several occasions. In 2001, Trabelsi was suspected of plotting to attack a US embassy in Paris, which was uncovered and stopped.[1] He is said to be the designated suicide bomber, and was to wear a business suit to conceal the strapped bomb onto himself before walking into the embassy.[3]

Trabelsi was arrested in an apartment, in Uccle near Brussels, Belgium on 13 September 2001. He was also implicated by Briton Saajid Badat, who alleged that both of them had conspired with Richard Reid supposedly to blow up two US-bound airliners using shoe bombs simultaneously.


In 2003, Trabelsi was sentenced to a 10-year prison term in Belgium.[1] He was also found guilty of illegal weapons possession and being a member in a private militia. On October 3, 2013 he was extradited to the United States.[4] In September 2014, the European Court of Human Rights found that his deportation was performed in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered Belgium to pay 60,000 euros in damages to Trabelsi.[5][6]

After twelve years in custody, he is now being held in Washington D.C. without bond.[7]


  1. ^ a b c BBC News (2007-12) Belgium frees jailbreak suspects, December 22, 2007.
  2. ^
  3. ^ CNN News (2001-10-26). Thwarting terror cells in Europe The CNN Website, retrieved April 21, 2008
  4. ^ "Nizar Trabelsi uitgeleverd aan de VS - De Standaard". 2013-09-23. Retrieved 2013-10-03. 
  5. ^ Trabelsi v. Belgium, ECHR 140/10, 139 (European Court of Human Rights 2014-09-04) (“The Court accordingly concludes that the applicant’s extradition to the United States of America amounted to a violation of Article 3 of the Convention.”).
  6. ^
  7. ^