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TERRORISM

Brother of French Jihadist who killed Jewish children handed 20 years for terrorism

The older brother of a French jihadist who shot dead seven people in Toulouse in 2012, including three Jewish children, was given a 20-year jail sentence Thursday for being part of a terrorist conspiracy.

Brother of French Jihadist who killed Jewish children handed 20 years for terrorism
Photo: AFP
Abdelkader Merah was however cleared of having a direct hand in his brother Mohamed's killing of three soldiers and attack on a Jewish school, where he gunned down a rabbi, two of the rabbi's children, aged three and five, and an eight-year-old girl.
 
The trial was the first arising out of a wave of violence by mostly homegrown radical Islamists that has claimed the lives of more than 240 people in France in the past five years.
   
Mohamed Merah's March 2012 attack on Ozar Hatorah school, which he carried out in the name of Al-Qaeda, was the deadliest on Jews in France in three decades.
   
Over the course of his eight-day killing spree, the 23-year-old also shot dead three soldiers in the garrison town of Montauban before being killed by police after a 32-hour siege at his home.
 
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Brother of French jihadist fights radicalisationAbdelghani Merah, who is trying to make sure no one becomes like his brother Mohamed. Photo: AFP

His 35-year-old brother and mentor Abdelkader, who had nurtured his interest in jihad and defended the killings, was arrested shortly afterwards on charges of complicity.
   
But while admitting to having been present when his brother stole the scooter he used in the attacks, Abdelkader denied any knowledge of his intentions.
   
His conviction on the separate charge of being part of a terrorist conspiracy was seen nonetheless by the victim's families as a victory.
   
“Justice has been served,” Patrick Klugman, lawyer for the family of slain rabbi Jonathan Sandler said.
   
A second defendant, Fettah Malki, who supplied Mohamed Merah with a machine gun and a bullet-proof vest, was given a 14-year sentence after also being found guilty of involvement in a terrorist conspiracy.
 
From petty crime to terrorism
 
The trial lifted the lid on a dysfunctional family living on the margins of society in the high-rise Toulouse suburb of Les Izards.
   
Three of the five children born to Algerian immigrant parents, who later divorced, came under the spell of radical Islamists.
   
Both Abdelkader and Mohamed spent time in prison for acts of delinquency — an experience that radicalised the younger Merah and left him thirsting for revenge against France.
   
In 2011, he travelled to the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan to join the Qaeda-affiliated Jund al-Khalifa.
   
Returning to France, he was questioned by intelligence services but insisted his trip had been solely for tourism.
   
Prosecutors had presented Abdelkader as the real brains behind the attacks and called for him to be given life in prison, without possibility of parole for 22 years.
   
But Merah's lawyers urged the jury not to make him a scapegoat for his brother's crimes to satisfy the public desire for a conviction.

CRIME

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.

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