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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 May, 2004, 21:26 GMT 22:26 UK
Frenchman jailed for terror ties
David Courtailler and co-defendants (court sketch)
Courtailler (centre) was tried with two other defendants
A Frenchman has been jailed for helping a network of Islamic militants.

David Courtailler is also said to have links to a key suspect in the Madrid train bombings, Jamal Zougam.

Courtailler, 28, was found guilty of conspiring with criminals engaged in a terrorist enterprise. He was given two years in jail with two years suspended.

He denied the charges. Prosecutors say he aided extremist Muslims in Europe following a stay at an Afghan training camp after he converted to Islam.

Others jailed

Another suspect, Algerian Mohamed Chaouki Baadache, was found guilty of the same offence and jailed for the maximum 10 years.

He has been convicted for what he may have been able to do, not for what he has done
Courtailler's lawyer

A third man, Frenchman Ahmed Laidouni, got seven years.

Defence lawyers had contended that Courtailler, a Muslim convert, had not been linked to any act of terror.

"He has really been convicted for what he may have been able to do, not for what he has done," one of his lawyers said after the trial.

Another told journalists: "This verdict confirms once again that the courts are bowing to political pressure for repression of people whose only crime is that they are Muslim."

Courtailler's lawyers say they will appeal against the verdict.

Courtailler converted to Islam in 1997 while he was staying in the British south coast resort town of Brighton.

Prosecutors said one of his contacts after returning from Afghanistan was Zougam, who is in detention in Spain over the 11 March bombings.

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