Crime & Justice

8 Convicted in France of aiding 2016 Nice terrorist attack

Paris, Dec 13 (EFE).- Eight defendants were convicted in a French court here Tuesday of aiding the 2016 truck attack that killed 86 people during Bastille Day celebrations in the Mediterranean city of Nice.

They were handed sentences ranging from two to 18 years behind bars.

Two of the defendants – Tunisia’s Chokri Chafroud and Franco-Tunisian Mohamed Ghraieb – received 18-year prison terms for terrorist criminal association.

The 43-year-old Chafroud also has been permanently banned from entering French territory.

Both were convicted of helping the perpetrator of the attack – Islamic State sympathizer Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel – rent the truck he used on the night of July 14, 2016, to plow into hundreds of people on Nice’s emblematic seaside Promenade des Anglais.

Another Franco-Tunisian man, Ramzi Arefa, was convicted of providing Lahouaiej-Bouhlel with a gun obtained from weapons traffickers. That defendant, who was allegedly unaware of the perpetrator’s terrorist intentions, received a 12-year prison sentence.

Artan Henaj, an Albanian man accused of providing weapons to Arefa and who was facing as many as 10 years behind bars, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

His countryman, Enkeledja Zace, received a five-year prison term but is exempted from serving two years of that sentence.

Two other Albanians – Endri Elezi and Maksim Celaj – each were sentenced to three years behind bars and are permanently barred from entering France.

One other defendant who is under arrest in Tunisia and was not present in the Paris court, Brahim Tritrou – was sentenced to two years in prison.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Nice terrorist attack, the second-deadliest in French history after the Nov. 13, 2015, coordinated Islamic attacks in Paris and the city’s northern suburb of Saint-Denis that left 130 dead.

Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian living in France who worked as a delivery-truck driver, swerved a 19-ton truck through the large crowd over a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) stretch of the promenade before being shot and killed by police during an exchange of gunfire.

Of the 86 people killed, around half were French nationals and the rest were citizens of around a score of different countries. EFE


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