Brother of Toulouse attacker Merah to face terrorism trial

AP News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2016 2:02 PM

PARIS (AP) — A brother of Mohamed Merah — the Islamic radical who killed seven people in attacks on a Jewish school and French paratroopers in 2012 — has been ordered to stand trial in France on terrorism charges.

The prosecutor's office said Abdelkhader Merah, 33, is accused of involvement in an al-Qaida-related group that plotted attacks against Jews and soldiers and obtained weapons and stole a scooter for his brother's rampage in the southwestern French city of Toulouse.

Some authorities initially suspected a lone-wolf attack by Mohamed Merah, but Abdelkhader was given preliminary charges of being an accomplice to murder in the attacks only three days after his brother died in a shootout with police. He has been in custody ever since.

After four years of investigation, the Paris prosecutor's office said Wednesday that Abdelkhader Merah will be sent to trial at a Paris special anti-terrorism court along with another person, Fettah Malki. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of complicity to murder in relation to a terrorist undertaking and conspiracy to commit a terrorist crime.

The special criminal court is only made up of professional judges, with no jurors chosen among citizens. The trial is not expected to be held before next year at the earliest.

Three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers were killed by Mohamed Merah, 23, in Toulouse and the nearby city of Montauban over nine days in March 2012.

A third man, Mohamed Meskine, who was initially given preliminary charges of conspiracy to commit a terrorist crime and gang-related theft in relation to a terrorist crime, had his case dismissed, prosecutors said Wednesday.