Many athletes become famous as soon as they join a team. However, the stories of these men became known because, From being high-performance soccer players, they became members of groups outside the law.
Trabelsi was born on July 2, 1970 in the Tunisian Republic, North Africa. He was a player for some German and Belgian teams such as Fortuna Dusseldorf, Wuppertaler SV and some other minor league teams during the 1990s.
However, at the end of the decade, Trabelsi would have traveled to Afghanistan to meet with Osama bin Laden on several occasions, since they shared political ideologies.
By 2001, Trabelsi already had an apparent association with Al Qaeda and, in fact, was suspected of plotting to attack a US embassy in Paris where he was allegedly the man to have the concealed bomb strapped to his body.
After several investigations, The former soccer player was convicted of terrorism in 2003 and sentenced to ten years in prison in Belgium for “conspiring to attack US targets.”
These also included, as reported at the time by the local newspaper ‘The Brussels Times’, the alleged planning of an attack on the Belgian air base ‘Kleine Brogel Air Base’ where some American soldiers and a alleged planning of a terrorist attack that ended up being that of the Twin Towers in New York, USA.
However, when he served his ten-year sentence in Belgium, he was extradited to the United States, where he was placed in a Washington jail awaiting trial.
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He was born into a family of Turkish descent in 1987 in Wuppertal, Germany, and from a very young age he showed great talent in football.
By the time I was under 16 years old participated in big clubs that represented Germany in under-17 tournaments and although he was a great promise and played with footballers who have reached high-performance clubs, Karan took a different route.
The last coach he had spoke to the British outlet ‘The Guardian’ and commented that “Burak certainly had a lot of talent. […] There was absolutely no indication at the time that he would be radicalized. He had the same goal in life as all the other kids around him: to become a professional footballer.”.
In 2008, when he was only 20 years old, quit football and allegedly joined an extremist group who he apparently hooked up with when he was in his local town.
Rumors of this were given by a YouTube video where Karan can be seen for a moment with a machine gun in his hand. In addition, as reported by ‘The Guardian’, messages that were under the video stated that Karan “left home to fight for the sake of Allah against the injustice of Bashar al-Assad.”
Despite this and the fact that his body was found dead in 2013, when he was only 25 years old, due to an air strike in Azaz, a city in Syria, his siblings and parents claim that Karan never became radicalized and that if he was there it was because he was taking humanitarian aid to the area.
In addition, his brother Mustafa Karan commented to ‘The Guardian’ that, from what he could see, in the video that was uploaded to YouTube it seemed that someone was using his brother to send a message that he really did not want to send.
At the time of his death, colleagues from the different soccer teams to which he belonged commented on social networks about the pain of his loss and confirmed that, regardless of the path the former soccer player might have taken, he had been a great person.
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He played in the Moroccan national futsal team and his performance was even such that he participated in the 2012 World Cup on behalf of his country, Morocco.
However, Halawa lived in Tetouan, in the north of Morocco, an area that, apparently and according to the ‘ABC de España’ media, it had a lot of movement in terms of groups that supported the Islamic State and used to recruit volunteers.
By 2015, relatives of the former soccer player confirmed to a local media outlet that Halawa had joined Daesh (Islamic State terrorist organization, for its acronym in Arabic).
From that moment any type of information about the former soccer player has been almost impossible to obtain for the media.
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He was born in San Sebastián, Spain, in 1973 and was part of important Spanish teams such as SD Eibar, Real Unión de Irún and Real Sociedad de Fútbol.
Since he was part of the clubs, it was known that Sarriegi, who was also a lawyer, had beliefs very close to the nationalist left.
In fact, He came to defend on several occasions the prisoners of the ‘Euskadi Ta Askatasuna’, a Basque terrorist organization that sought the creation of an independent State from Spain.
However, his most direct relationship with terrorism occurred until 2010 when, along with other lawyers who followed the same ideology, he was arrested for alleged collaboration with an armed gang in the middle of an anti-terrorist operation.
By the end of that same year, the judge decided to release him on bail, along with the other lawyers.
🗒️ Iker Sarriegi arrived at Real Sociedad after standing out at Eibar (1997).
1⃣ He played only one game in the First Division, at Mérida’s home.
❌ Knee injuries forced him to retire from football at the age of 26. pic.twitter.com/mUMJPjFgWb
– Football Carroza (@FutbolCarroza) November 26, 2021
Terrorism or opposition to the government?
In 2013, soccer player Mohamed Aboutrika was included by a criminal court in Cairo on the country’s list of terroristsas he was accused of apparently financially supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that Egypt has considered terrorist.
What being on this list implies is that the person is prohibited from leaving the country, since they must be available at any time in case a statement is required.
The man was, at the time, a renowned Egyptian soccer player, a scorer in the 2006 Club World Cup in Japan, a double champion of Africa in 2006 and 2008, and was even chosen by the ‘BBC’ as the ‘Best Player of Africa’ in that same year.
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According to what ‘BBC’ reports, The footballer did make his support for Mohamed Morsi public at the timean alleged member of the group that became Egypt’s only democratically elected president, but was later ousted in a coup.
So far, there is no exact proof that the former soccer player, who retired from his career the same year he was included on the list, actually supported the government opposition group financially.
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