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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 13:39 GMT
Six jailed over Paris bomb plot
Hooded suspect Johann Bonte arrives in court
Suspect Johann Bonte is Beghal's brother-in-law
A Paris court has sentenced a French-Algerian, Djamel Beghal, to 10 years in jail for plotting to bomb the US embassy in France in 2001.

Beghal, 39, was on trial with five other alleged militant Islamists. They got jail terms of one to nine years.

Beghal, arrested in Dubai in July 2001, retracted a confession he had made there, alleging it was extracted by torture during weeks of questioning.

He had said the bomb plot idea had come from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Footballer's role

Beghal was found guilty of "criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise".

The US embassy in Paris
The US embassy in Paris - allegedly the bombers' target

Co-defendant Kamel Daoudi, a 30-year-old computer expert, received a nine-year jail sentence.

Both Beghal and Daoudi allegedly spent time at al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in 2001.

The prosecution claimed the plot was hatched in Afghanistan with a leading al-Qaeda militant, Abu Zubaydah, captured in March 2002.

Beghal denied at the trial ever having met the Saudi-born Palestinian.

In his confession, Beghal had allegedly identified a professional footballer, Nizar Trabelsi, as the chosen suicide bomber.

Trabelsi is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence in Belgium, on other charges.

I am a Muslim and Muslim to the hilt
Djamel Beghal
The plot is reported to have included plans to target a US cultural centre in Paris as well as the US embassy.

Trabelsi's alleged task was to enter the US embassy, just off the Place de la Concorde, with explosives strapped to his body, and blow himself up.

A van packed with explosives would have been driven separately to the US cultural centre, also in the heart of Paris, and detonated.

Trabelsi, who denies the claim, is currently in jail in Belgium for planning to bomb a military base on an al-Qaeda mission.

Beghal was accused of recruiting members for his network in the southern suburbs of Paris, including his brother-in-law Johann Bonte, who was also on trial.

Asked if he regarded himself a radical, Beghal testified: "I am a Muslim and Muslim to the hilt."

More details of the bomb plot

Who's who in al-Qaeda
15 Jul 04 |  Middle East
Q&A: Al-Qaeda sentencing
30 Sep 03 |  Europe
Mosque in the spotlight
20 Jan 03 |  UK News


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