A French court has sentenced four men between five and 15 years in jail for plotting an attack on Paris’s emblematic Champs Elysées avenue. A fifth walked free as he had already served his term in pre-trial custody.
The five defendants were aged 17 to 39 when they were arrested in 2019 for allegedly planning to attack policemen and possibly civilians on the avenue not far from the presidential palace.
All except one were found guilty of “terrorist conspiracy” on Thursday, April 20, after a trial held behind closed doors. The oldest in the group was sentenced to 15 years in prison, while a second was handed 12 years.
A third, who was a minor at the time of his arrest but considered to be the leader of the group, was also given a 12-year jail term. He had been arrested in Germany in 2017 when he was just 15 for trying to join the Islamic State jihadist group in war-torn Syria. Investigators said he had planned to attack a police patrol at the entrance to the Champs Elysees and “commit a massacre.”
A fourth, a Chechen who was also a minor at the time, was handed a five-year term for not speaking up about the plan. A fifth was sentenced to five years in prison, of which 18 months was suspended, over financing the plot, but walked free as he had already served that time in pre-trial custody.