Islamist gang head gets 30 years in French prison

A court in northern France on Friday handed down a 30-year prison term to the suspected co-leader of a crime gang that investigators consider an Islamic extremist group. Lionel Dumont, who converted to Islam in 1991, had been sentenced in absentia during a 2001 trial to life in prison. The court on Friday handed down a much lighter verdict with the 30-year sentence, 10 of them suspended. Police consider Dumont, 34, also known as Bilal, to have been a co-leader of the so-called Roubaix gang, a group of Islamic radicals that carried out a crime frenzy in the Lille region of northern France in 1996. Ahmed Ressam, the millennium bomb plotter convicted in 2001 in the US for the failed plan to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, was also convicted in absentia for his role in the Roubaix gang. He was found guilty of three attempted homicides against police in February 1996 and a Brink's guard a month later. He was also found guilty of an attempted attack on the Lille police station with a booby-trapped car on March 28, 1996.