Frenchman who signed Arabic terrorism confession appeals

AP News
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Posted: Feb 22, 2017 10:54 AM
Frenchman who signed Arabic terrorism confession appeals

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — A Frenchman arrested in anti-terrorism raids in Morocco was in court Wednesday to appeal his conviction, claiming he signed a confession in Arabic that he could neither read nor understand.

The case of Thomas Gallay has drawn criticism from rights groups and France's former justice minister, who say his confession, trial and conviction were unfair. Gallay, an engineer who was working in Morocco, was arrested in February 2016 in an anti-terror sweep and accused of supporting a terrorist organization.

Gallay's lawyer and mother say he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, and unknowingly signed a confession handed to him by police. Moroccan authorities say he was a convert to Islam who gave 70 euros to two Moroccan members of a terror cell. Gallay received a six-year prison sentence.

"He feels like he's an innocent man who has been imprisoned and he is waiting for justice to do its work, because this is wearing on him," said his mother, Beatrice, as she entered the courtroom.

Gallay, his hair tied back, sat behind a glass partition awaiting his hearing, looking drawn.