French court jails brother of jihadist killer for 30 years
A Paris appeal court on Thursday handed a 30-year jail term to Abdelkader Merah, brother of a French jihadist who shot dead seven people, finding him guilty of being an accomplice in the 2012 murders.
The verdict was received in silence in the courtroom, before sobs broke out among the victim’s relatives in the public gallery.
Merah, 36, had in 2017 been jailed for 20 years being part of a terrorist conspiracy but had been cleared, by the lower court, of having a direct hand in his brother’s shooting spree.
The appeal court decision, reached after 12 hours of deliberations, the 30-year term falling short of the prosecution’s request for a life term for Merah.
His brother Mohamed Merah killed three soldiers in March 2012 before turning his sights on a Jewish school in Toulouse, where he gunned down a rabbi, two of the rabbi’s children, aged three and five, and an eight-year-old girl.
The attack was the deadliest on Jews in France in three decades and marked the advent of a new threat from French-born radicals goaded by foreign terror groups to strike their homeland.
Mohamed Merah was killed by police after a 32-hour siege at his home, three days after the school assault.
The trial of Merah’s older brother and mentor Abdelkader was the first in connection with a string of attacks that have claimed the lives of over 240 people in France in recent years.
The appeal court also reduced the sentence of Fettah Malki, a friend of the Merah brothers, from 14 to 10 years, found guilty of associating with known criminals, rather than the greater crime of terrorist conspiracy.
It was Malki who supplied Mohamed Merah with a machine gun and a bullet-proof vest was also convicted of a terrorist conspiracy.
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