Brother of French jihadist killer sentenced to 30 years

Brother of French jihadist killer sentenced to 30 years
A Paris appeal court 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.

2 min read
19 April, 2019
The Paris caught found Merah guilty of being an accomplice to the 2012 murders [Getty]
A brother of a jihadist who shot dead seven people, including three French soldiers, was handed a 30-year jail term after being found guilty of assisting in the 2012 murders, a Paris appeal court confirmed on Thursday.

Abdelkader Merah was found guilty of being an accomplice in a verdict that 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 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.

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.

France suffered major attacks in Paris in November 2015 when Islamic State jihadists killed 130 people in bombings and shootings at bars, restaurants, the Bataclan concert venue and the national stadium.

Earlier that year, an assault on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo left 12 people dead, triggering high alert in the European nation.

In July 2016, in another attack claimed by IS, a man drove a truck through revellers celebrating Bastille Day in the Riviera resort of Nice, killing 84 people. 

In March last year, two people were killed after a gunman claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group opened fire and took hostages at a supermarket in southwest France.

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