A French court sentenced the leader of a banned Islamic group to nine years in jail on Friday (July 10) after a trial on terrorism charges.
The ruling comes six months after Islamist militants killed 17 people in attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a Jewish shop, prompting France to boost troops guarding sensitive spots such as synagogues and train stations.
The Paris court delivered the jail sentence to Mohamed Achemlane, one of 14 people tried on charges of "criminal conspiracy related to a terrorist enterprise", in a trial unrelated to the deadly Jan. 7-9 attacks.
The trial followed raids by police on the homes of members of a group called Forsane Alizza (Horsemen of Pride in Arabic), which was banned in 2012. Police found weapons in the raids as well as a file belonging to Achemlane that included a list of "targets" including the Hyper Cacher chain of Jewish stores.
The group was created in 2010 with the official goal of stopping the spread of Islamophobia but it was banned by the government in March 2012 after jihadist propaganda appeared on its website.
Achamlane, 37, who has previous convictions for offences related to weapons and violence, denied any plans to carry out attacks and said the group's aim was simply to "unite young Muslims"... Read more