Dutch court jails French Islam convertfor Paris US embassy plot

21st June 2004, Comments 0 comments

THE HAGUE, June 21 (AFP) - A Dutch appeals court on Monday sentenced a French convert to Islam, to six years in jail for being a member of a terror group accused of plotting attacks on US targets in France and Belgium.

THE HAGUE, June 21 (AFP) - A Dutch appeals court on Monday sentenced a French convert to Islam, to six years in jail for being a member of a terror group accused of plotting attacks on US targets in France and Belgium.  

The court also handed down a four-year jail term to co-accused, Algerian Abdelghani Rabia, 32, similarly for being a "member of an international criminal organisation whose purpose was to commit terrorist attacks".  

"The court does not consider that it was proven that the men themselves have actually prepared attacks or were accomplices to such preparation," the judges said in their verdict.  

Both Rabia and 29-year-old Frenchman Jerome Courtailler, who had previously been acquitted by another court, were sentenced by the appeal court in The Hague in absentia.  

Judges ordered they be arrested and detained. According to the Dutch public prosecutor, Courtailler is currently in France, while Rabia is thought to be in his native Algeria after being expelled following his initial acquittal.   "They are going to be placed in the register of internationally wanted people and will have to be detained," a spokeswoman for the prosecutor told AFP.  

"If the authorities find them, the procedure for transferring them to a prison in the Netherlands should be quite rapid," she added.  

Jerome Courtailler is the brother of David Courtailler, who was sentenced on May 25 by a Paris court to two years in prison for association with a terrorist organisation. 

David Courtailler, 28, who is also a convert to Islam, was accused of belonging to a group which organised military training for recruits in Afghanistan. During the trial prosecutors said that he had contact in 1998 with Jamal Zougam, one of the main suspects in the Madrid bombings in March.  

Two other suspects, both Algerians, on Monday were acquitted of links with a terror organisation. But the Dutch court sentenced  them to 18 and 12 months respectively in prison for belonging to a criminal group that produced false passports.  

And a fifth defendant, a Dutchman of Ethiopian origin was acquitted by the appeal court.  
The five men had been accused by prosecutors of taking part in preparations for an attack on the US embassy in Paris which is located on the Place de la Concorde at the bottom of the famous Champs-Elysees Avenue in the centre of the capital.  

The court ruled that the men were guilty of being members of an criminal organisation who planned terrorist attacks on "US targets in France or Belgium" without any further details. 

The appeal court overturned an earlier ruling in December 2002 acquitting four of the suspects when judges at the Rotterdam court ruled there was insufficient evidence because the information provided by the Dutch intelligence services was not admissible.  
The appeals court now ruled that information by the intelligence services could be admitted into evidence in court if the information leads to a "reasonable suspicion" and it can be checked by judges if the evidence was obtained legally and the content is correct.

© AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article