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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 21:53 GMT 22:53 UK
Dutch court jails terror supporters
The US embassy in Paris
The US embassy is situated in the heart of Paris, just off the Champs-Elysees
A French convert to Islam has been sentenced to prison for links to a group that planned to attack the US embassy in Paris.

Jerome Courtailler was given six years in absentia by the Dutch appeal court.

Another man not present in court, Algerian Abdelghani Rabia, was sentenced to four years on similar charges.

Neither man was found to have prepared the proposed attack, which never took place.

But they were convicted of running a support network for the group, funded by credit card fraud and dealing in false documents.

Prosecutors had said the group was linked to Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

Courtailler's brother David was jailed on terrorism charges in France in May.

Police search

Rabia and Courtailler had been acquitted by a Rotterdam court in 2002 of involvement in the planning of the proposed attacks on US interests including the Paris embassy.

They were released but prosecutors appealed the ruling to the higher court.

The two men - first arrested two days after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US - are now being sought again by police.

The appeal court also ruled, for the first time, that confidential information gathered by the Dutch secret service, could be used in court.

The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan, in The Hague, says it is the first time Islamic militants have been found guilty of involvement in terrorism in the Netherlands.

Two other men, both Algerian, were acquitted of being part of a terrorist group but convicted in absentia of membership in a criminal organisation.

A Dutch man of Ethiopian origin was acquitted.

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