Prosecutors demand 10 years for Canadian 'Al-Qaeda trainee'

Prosecutors in Mauritania have demanded a ten-year jail term for a Canadian convicted of attempting to join an Al-Qaeda training camp in neighbouring Mali, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday.

Aaron Yoon is serving two years in Nouakchott after being convicted by a court in the capital in July last year when he was 24, but prosecutors have appealed to the country's supreme court for a longer sentence, the source said.

Yoon, who is of Korean descent, was arrested in December 2011 when he tried to visit the camps of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali, according to the indictment against him.

He has denied terrorism charges and said "he had never belonged to a terrorist organisation" the source told AFP.

The Canadian said he had come to Mauritania "from Morocco to learn the Koran and the Arabic language in its Islamic institutions" but the authorities maintain he has "strong links with AQIM terrorists and his plan to join the movement is indisputable".

The court is expected to rule on the case mid-June.

Mauritania shares over 2,200 kilometres (1,350 miles) of border with Mali, where a French-led military operation has been under way against armed Islamist groups since they were driven out of cities in the country's vast north in January.