Sun, Feb 21, 2016 - Page 6 News List

Brother of killer in 2012 attacks may face trial in France

NY Times News Service, PARIS

The Paris prosecutor on Friday requested that the brother of a man who killed seven people in southwestern France in 2012 stand trial on charges that he was involved in the planning of the attacks.

The prosecutor, Francois Molins, asked that Abdelkader Merah, 33, the elder brother of the gunman, Mohammed Merah, be prosecuted on charges of criminal terrorist conspiracy, theft in connection with a terrorist act and complicity in premeditated terrorist murder and attempted murder.

In two attacks in 2012, on March 11 and March 15, Mohammed Merah shot and killed three French soldiers in southwestern France.

He then killed four more people, including three children, on March 19 at a Jewish school in Toulouse. He was shot dead by the police several days later after a standoff that lasted more than 30 hours.

If a judge approves Molins’ request, Merah will stand trial before a special court for terrorist crimes that is based in Paris and is made up of a panel of judges rather than a jury.

Molins said in his statement that Merah supported the “radical Islam of terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda” and that Merah met with his brother at “key moments” to assist him logistically, including by helping him steal a motor scooter that was used in the attacks.

Merah, who has been detained since his arrest in March 2012, has always denied that he knew about his brother’s plans.

Molins also requested that another man, Fettah Malki, stand trial on charges that he provided the younger Merah with a bulletproof vest and weapons before the attacks.

The prosecutor requested that the charges against a third man suspected of helping Merah obtain the motor scooter be dropped for lack of evidence of his involvement.

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