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'Daesh landlord’ Jawad Bendaoud sentenced to four years in prison

Jacques Demarthon, AFP | Jawad Bendaoud looks on at the Paris courthouse as part of his appeal trial, in Paris on November 21, 2018.

A Frenchman who rented his flat to the ringleader of the 2015 Paris attacks during a massive police manhunt was sentenced to four years in prison Friday for "hiding terrorists".

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Jawad Bendaoud was convicted on appeal of hiding Islamic State group jihadist Abdelhamid Abaaoud and his accomplice Chakib Akrouh, who holed up after the November 13 attacks in Bendaoud's apartment in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.

He remained calm when the ruling was read out, just shaking his head slightly.

Bendaoud was the first person to be tried in France over the synchronised shooting and suicide attacks on the Bataclan concert hall, national stadium and several cafes in which a total of 130 people were killed.

The attacks were the worst in France since World War II.

Five days after the attacks, police tracked Abaaoud down to Bendaoud’s flat and launched a dramatic raid, in which Abaaoud, Akrouh and a female cousin of Abaaoud’s were killed.

National laughing stock

Bendaoud, a 31-year-old drug dealer, became a national laughing stock after declaring in an infamous TV interview that he had detected nothing suspicious about his lodgers.

At his first trial, the court found insufficient evidence that he knew the men were part of the November attacks cell.

Bendaoud presented himself as a cocaine-snorting womaniser who was in the habit of renting out his flat to gangsters without asking questions.

General Counsel Naïma Rudloff had demanded a sentence of five years in prison for this repeat offender. “Jihadism has provided morality to urban delinquency and delinquants have provided opportunities for jihadists,” she said in her closing remarks.

Abaaoud's cousin Youssef Ait Boulahcen, a 26-year-old ambulance driver who was tried alongside him, was also sentenced to a four-year custodial sentence on Friday for "failing to report a terrorist crime".

In a separate case earlier this week, Bendaoud was sentenced on appeal on Wednesday March 27 to one year in prison for “death threats” against a survivor of the 13 November attacks.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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