Frenchman sentenced to nine years for terror plot

15th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 15, 2007 (AFP) - A Paris court Thursday sentenced French national Willie Brigitte to nine years in jail for conspiring with Pakistani extremists to plot terrorist attacks in Australia.

PARIS, March 15, 2007 (AFP) - A Paris court Thursday sentenced French national Willie Brigitte to nine years in jail for conspiring with Pakistani extremists to plot terrorist attacks in Australia.

Brigitte, 38, showed no emotion as the verdict was read out in the Paris criminal court.

Deported from Australia in 2003, the 38-year-old from the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe went on trial last month on charges of "criminal conspiracy in relation with a terrorist enterprise."

A state prosecutor had requested the maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment at the end of the three-day trial, arguing that Brigitte played a major role in the alleged attack plan.

After converting to Islam in 1998, Brigitte veered into radicalism, running paramilitary camps in France to toughen up Islamist fighters, and undergoing weapons training in Pakistan, according to the prosecution.

In May 2003 he travelled to Australia on the orders of the Pakistani extremist group Lashkar e-Taiba to join a terror cell run by Faheem Khalid Lodhi, a Pakistani-born radical who was jailed for 20 years in 2006 for the alleged attack plot, the prosecution said.

The court heard evidence of a web of connections linking Brigitte to Lashkar e-Taiba operatives in Australia, Britain and the United States.

At the time of his arrest Brigitte was in possession of a link to a website describing sensitive sites including a Sydney nuclear plant, the city's power grid and military installations around the country -- all cited by the prosecution as potential targets.

Brigitte -- who has been in detention since 2003 -- has protested his innocence. He refused to speak throughout his trial, saying he had "lost all hope of being understood."

Defence lawyers called for his acquittal, saying Brigitte's statements to French police were obtained under pressure and that the prosecution's case was riddled with inaccuracies.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article