Man linked to September 11 convicted in France

26th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 26, 2006 (AFP) - A French court Thursday sentenced a 37-year-old Moroccan man, suspected of having links with the September 11 attackers, to nine years in jail over an alleged terrorist conspiracy.

PARIS, Oct 26, 2006 (AFP) - A French court Thursday sentenced a 37-year-old Moroccan man, suspected of having links with the September 11 attackers, to nine years in jail over an alleged terrorist conspiracy.

Karim Mehdi was the only person to face charges arising out of the French judicial investigation into the 2001 attacks in the United States.

The Moroccan was detained in June 2003 at Charles de Gaulle airport en route from Germany to the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, where investigators say he was planning to carry out surveillance for a future bomb attack.

He was convicted of "criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise" — the standard charge when there is no stronger evidence of a terrorist plot — and permanently barred from French territory.

At Mehdi's trial in September, the state prosecutor argued that he had firm plans to stage an attack: "Equipment was bought, Mehdi had drawn up an operational plan and potentional targets were discussed," he said.

Mehdi's trips to Afghanistan, Bosnia, Pakistan and Mauritania, and his address book containing the names of two central figures in the September 11 attacks, were also held up as proof of his connection to the Al-Qaeda network.

According to the prosecution, the Moroccan was in contact with Ziad Jarrah — a Lebanese who was on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania — as well as Ramzi Binalshibh, a Yemeni who is believed to have been among the plotters.

However there was no evidence he took part in planning the suicide hijackings.

Prosecutors also believe Mehdi had links with German national Christian Ganczarski, suspected of involvement in the 2002 bomb attack on a synagogue in the Tunisian town of Djerba which killed 21.

During his interrogation he also spoke of plans to bomb US military bases in Germany, prosecutors said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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