Nuclear researcher sentenced in France for plotting attack

May 4, 2012 20:34

PARIS - A Paris court sentenced a Franco-Algerian nuclear physicist to five years in prison on Friday on charges of helping to plot an attack in France in 2009 with an al-Qaida militant in Algeria.

Adlene Hicheur, 35, a former researcher at the prestigious CERN physics lab in Geneva, was found guilty of providing logistical advice to Mustapha Debchi, a militant for al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), using encrypted messages sent via the Internet.

Hicheur said he had been charged over his opinions rather than his acts, but prosecutors called him a "technical attack adviser" and said he had provided Debchi with a terrorist manual.

His lawyer Patrick Baudoin called the ruling a "revolting injustice" and described it as "simply abusive".

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