The main surviving defendant in the 2017 Champs-Élysées terror attack has been convicted for his role in the killing of a Paris police officer and sentenced to 10 years in prison — far below the 18 years requested by prosecutors.
Nourredine Allam, 31-year-old, was accused of selling a Kalashnikov assault rifle to jihadist Karim Cheurfi which allowed Cheurfi to “make his terrorist project a reality” when he used the firearm to attack policemen on April 20th on the famous Parisian boulevard, killing officer Xavier Jugelé. Police shot Cheurfi dead at the scene.
The five magistrates overseeing the case rejected the call from the National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (PNAT) for an 18-year sentence for the 31-year-old, sentencing him to just 10 years instead, newspaper Le Monde reports.
Two other men, Yanis Aidouni and Mohamed Bouguerra, were also sentenced to prison terms of six and five years respectively for their roles in helping Cheurfi acquire the firearm. A fourth defendant was acquitted.
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The trial of the four men lasted nine days and saw eight hours of deliberation, with the magistrates ruling out the terrorist qualification, deciding instead that the “mere fact of selling a weapon to a dangerous individual likely to kill police officers is not sufficient to characterise a terrorist offence”. None of the three was found guilty of terrorism offences.
A judicial source told Le Monde that while such a ruling had been anticipated, it was probably the first time judges had ruled out any terrorism convictions in a trial related to an Islamist jihadist case.
Yoann Maras, regional secretary of the Alliance Police Nationale Paris trade union, commented on the judgements, saying: “Unfortunately, we note once again that the sentences handed down are much lower than the penalties provided for today by law.”
“These sentences are all the more shocking for our colleagues in view of the circumstances and conditions of the death of Xavier Jugelé, killed by a terrorist,” Maras added.
The 2017 attack occurred in the middle of that year’s French presidential elections and happened as the candidates were engaged in a live debate that evening ahead of the first round of voting.
Investigators later found a note in the possession of Cheurfi at the scene of the attack, praising Islamic State.
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