Paris court convicts nine of terror-related charges
PARIS - A Paris criminal court convicted nine people of terrorism charges yesterday, including a French-Algerian former prison inmate who admitted establishing an Islamic group that called for armed jihad in France.
Safe Bourada, 38, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, while eight others received penalties of one to nine years on charges linked to financing of and association with a terror group.
Bourada admitted in court to creating a militant group called Ansar al-Fath, or Partisans of Victory. The group was suspected of planning attacks on the Paris Metro and Orly airport. It was dismantled in 2005 after French authorities received a tip from Algerian counterparts.
In 2005 Christophe Chaboud, head of the counterterrorism unit of the national police, said the group had had "indirect" contacts with Iraq's former Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in a US airstrike in June 2006 in Diyala Province.
The court ruled that one of the group's members - Kaci Ouarab, 31 - had received weapons training in Lebanon in 2005 that was designed to help carry out bombings in France.
Ouarab, whom the court considered "the natural, legitimate, and even operational successor" of Bourada, was sentenced to nine years without the possibility of parole for at least six.
Kais Melliti, 36, considered an important organizing and financial operative, was given eight years without the possibility of parole for at least two-thirds of that term.