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France

Paris prosecutors to appeal verdict against Toulouse gunman's brother

© Benoit Peyrucq, AFP | A court sketch made on November 2, 2017 shows Abdelkader Merah (R), accused of complicity in a series of shootings committed by his brother Mohamed Merah, on the last day of his trial at the Paris's courthouse.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-11-04

Paris prosecutors will appeal a Thursday court decision that convicted a French-Algerian man of having ties to terrorism but found him not guilty of complicity in a series of deadly attacks perpetrated by his brother in Toulouse in 2012.

Paris’s prosecutor-general said Friday that he felt the court didn't consider all the “legal consequences" of the case, notably by acquitting the accused of complicity in murder.

In 2012, 23-year-old Mohamed Merah killed three French paratroopers as well as three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in the Toulouse region before being killed in a police raid. On Thursday his brother, Abdelkader Merah, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after a tense and emotional five-week-long trial in which he was accused of complicity in his brother's acts.

Abdelkader, now 35, received the maximum sentence for "terrorist conspiracy" but has always denied helping Mohamed prepare the deadly rampage.

The defense pointed out that Mohamed Merah was "always alone" when he committed the seven murders in Toulouse and Montauban on March 11, 15 and 19 before being killed by police on March 22.

The court found that even if he shared Mohamed's "jihadist motives" there is no indication that Abdelkader knew of "the aims and crimes" later committed by his brother.

>> Gaps in French prosecution's case against brother of Toulouse gunman

"There was a lot of emotion in the court last night" - FRANCE 24 reporter Claire Paccalin

The appeal would also apply to accused accomplice Fettah Malki, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for selling Mohamed the weapon and the bulletproof vest he used in the attacks despite knowing that he had been radicalised.

Latifa Ibn Ziaten, the mother of the first soldier killed by Merah, said the judges had not gone far enough. "We are too naive in France, we must wake up to protect our country, to protect our children," she said.

The prosecution had demanded life in prison for Abdelkader Merah and 20 years for Malki.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)

Date created : 2017-11-03

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