French-Algerian sentenced to six years for Al-Qaeda links

26th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

A Paris court has sentenced a French-Algerian national to six years in prison for ties to Al-Qaeda's branch in northern Africa.

PARIS -  Kamel Bouchentouf was arrested in May 2007 after sending an email containing a video attachment in which he spoke of building a small makeshift bomb that would "show to France" that Al-Qaeda could hit "at any moment."

"I expected this," Bouchentouf said after the judge found him guilty of conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and sentenced him to six years in prison.

Bouchentouf, a lorry driver in the eastern city of Nancy, argued during his trial that he was working for the French DST counter-intelligence agency when he sent the email to a member of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

But the intelligence agency denied this.

Police found bomb-making materials, bullets and documents on explosives during a search of Bouchentouf's home.

Prosecutors had sought seven to eight years in jail for Bouchentouf, who after admitting during police questioning that he supported radical Islam retracted his statement and said it had been given under duress.

He alleged that he had been recruted by French counter-intelligence to infiltrate Islamist networks.

Investigators found that Bouchentouf had been in contact with DST agents in 2006 and 2007 but the agency said these were "routine" encounters as part of its information-gathering work.

Previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Algeria including a spate of bombings in August that left more than 50 people dead.


0 Comments To This Article