French court acquits man charged with harbouring Paris attacks duo

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At the end of a three-week trial in Paris, Jawad Bendaoud, 31, was on Wednesday acquitted of charges of knowingly sheltering members of the Islamic State gang which carried out the November 13th 2015 terrorist attacks in and around the French capital which left 130 people dead, while Bendaoud's two co-defendants were given jail sentences.

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A man who lent his flat to two jihadists has been cleared in the first trial over the 2015 Paris attacks, reports BBC News.

Jawad Bendaoud, 31, was accused of harbouring Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Chakib Akrouh following the killings.

But he repeatedly denied knowing the men were attackers, pleading his innocence as he was arrested live on television.

The co-ordinated suicide bombing and mass shootings around Paris killed 130 people and wounded hundreds.

The Islamic State group said it was behind the attacks on the national stadium, bars and restaurants in the city, as well as the Bataclan concert venue.

Prosecutors had been seeking a four-year jail term for Mr Bendaoud for allegedly harbouring criminals.

More serious terrorism charges were dropped during the trial, after prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence that he knew the men were attackers.

In video that went viral after the assaults in 2015, Mr Bendaoud insisted he was not aware they were wanted by police.

"Someone asked me for a favour, I helped them out," he said.

While Mr Bendaoud was acquitted, two other defendants were convicted and sentenced to prison by the court in Paris on Wednesday.

Youssef Aitboulahcen, the brother of a woman killed in the police raid on the flat used by the attackers, was told to serve four years in prison for failing to alert authorities about a terror plot.

Mr Bendaoud's friend Mohamed Soumah, accused of acting as an intermediary, was also jailed for five years.

Read more of this report from BBC News.

 

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