Terror charge French convert to Islam jailed

25th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 25 (AFP) - David Courtailler, a Frenchman who converted to Islam, was given two years in jail by a Paris court Tuesday for association with a terrorist organisation.

PARIS, May 25 (AFP) - David Courtailler, a Frenchman who converted to Islam, was given two years in jail by a Paris court Tuesday for association with a terrorist organisation.

The court immediately issued an arrest warrant for Courtailler, who was free on bail for the trial.

The 28-year-old was accused of belonging to a group which organised military training for recruits in Afghanistan. During the trial in March prosecutors said that he had contact in 1998 with Moroccan national Jamal Zougam, one of the main suspects in the Madrid bombings of that month.

Two other accused, Mohamed Baadache and Ahmed Laidouni, got 10 and seven years in jail respectively.

Baadache, also known as Abu Qassim, is alleged to have been in charge from 1993 of welcoming European Islamist volunteers in the Pakistani city of Peshawar and sending them on to receive military training in Afghanistan.

Courtailler and Laidouni attended camps run by Osama bin Laden in 1997 and 1998 before returning to Europe "with a view to committing a violent action in France", according to the prosecution.

Lawyers for the three say there was no evidence that they wished to carry out terrorist attacks.

"Naturally my client has nothing to do with terrorism. The case against him contains no mention of an attack, either committed or in preparation. All there is is telephone numbers, journeys he made, contacts," Courtailler's lawyer Philibert Lepy said in March.

Courtailler is the brother of Jerome Courtailler, another convert to Islam, who was acquitted in the Netherlands in December 2002 of planning an attack on the US embassy in Paris.

© AFP

Subject: French news


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