Brother of Paris Attack Militant Is Sentenced to Prison
(about 9 hours later)
PARIS — The brother of one of the Islamist attackers who killed 130 people in Paris was sentenced to nine years in prison on Wednesday for traveling to Syria to train as a militant fighter.
The man, Karim Mohamed-Aggad, was one of a group of seven defendants prosecuted in connection with a trip they made to Syria in December 2013. His brother Foued was one of the three men who killed 90 people at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.
The seven defendants, ages 24 to 27, were tried on charges of taking part in an Islamist recruitment network and of receiving training from the Islamic State militant group.
The sentence given to Karim Mohammed-Aggad was slightly shorter than the 10 years requested by a public prosecutor in the case.
During the trial, prosecutors cited evidence gathered from wiretaps and from documents found in the computers and mobile phones of the suspects.
In his defense, Mr. Mohamed-Aggad tried to distance himself from his brother. “You choose your friends, not your family" he said at one point.
Some of the defendants told investigators they thought they were going to Syria on a humanitarian mission. Others said they left to fight against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, not to become terrorists.
Two more men suspected of links to the Paris attacks of November 2015 were handed over to the French authorities on Wednesday by the Belgian courts. The men, Mohamed Amri and Ali Oulkadi, are accused of helping a key figure in the case, Salah Abdeslam.
On Tuesday, a Belgian judge convicted and sentenced 15 members of an Islamic State terrorist cell who were arrested in a police raid in the town of Verviers in early 2015. Prosecutors said they had been actively planning attacks on targets including the Brussels airport, and had been in frequent contact with Abelhamid Abaaoud, one of the planners of the Paris attacks, who was killed in a raid by the French police.