Page last updated at 22:05 GMT, Thursday, 5 February 2009

Two jailed over Tunisia bombing

Court sketch of Christian Ganczarski, 5/1/2009
Christian Ganczarski said he had "nothing to do with the attack"

A French court has sentenced a German convert to Islam to 18 years over an attack on a Tunisian synagogue that killed 21 people in 2002.

Christian Ganczarski, who prosecutors believed had links with al-Qaeda, was arrested in France in 2003.

The court also sentenced Walid Nouar, the brother of the suicide bomber, to 12 years for his part in the attack on the synagogue in Djerba.

Both men denied the charges and are expected to appeal against the verdict.

The Djerba bombing - which killed 14 German tourists, five Tunisians and two French nationals - was claimed by al-Qaeda.

French prosecutors believe it was organised by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the US - who is being held at the Guantanamo detention centre.

Phone call

Under French law the death of the two French nationals means the three men could be tried in France.

But the French court decided not to rule on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's alleged role in the attack until he could appear in person.

According to court documents, suicide bomber Nizar Nouar called Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Christian Ganczarski just before he drove a gas-laden truck into the synagogue.

The calls were allegedly made on a telephone brought into Tunisia by the bomber's brother, Walid Nouar.

The bomber's uncle, Belgacem Nouar, was jailed in 2006 for his role in the attack.

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