On 12/19/2007, the French court sentenced five former Guantanamo detainees to 1 year in jail, after they were convicted on “criminal association in relation to a terrorist enterprise”.

The five:  Khaled Ben Mustapha, 35, from Lyon and Redouane Khalid, 39, were released from GUantanamo on 03/07/2005;  Brahim Yadel, 37, an associate of Omar Saiki; Mourad Benchelali, 26, from Lyon  and his close friend  Nizar Sassi, 27, were released from GUantanamo on 07/27/2004.  They were captured in Afghanistan in operation “Absolute Justice” in late 2001 and early 2002.

According to US authorities they fought alongside the Taliban but the evidence is circumstantial – the fact they were in Afghanistan at a crucial time. A sixth man, Imad Achab Kanouni, 30, was acquitted. They were released from Guantanamo on 07/27/2004.  Since the five convicted already served time in GUantanamo – they were sent free.

Mourad Benchellali is the older brother of Menad Benchelalli who was sentenced, on 06/12/2006, for 10 years imprisonment as the ringleader of the Lyon Cell. He traveled to Afghanistan in 2000 with his Lyon friend Nizar Sassi.

Brahim Yadel, 37, was recruited to militancy by the convicted Algerian terrorist Karim Bourti in the mid 90s’. Brahim Yadel was already suspected by the French security service of setting up a training camp for young radical Muslims in Fontainebleau Forest, near Paris, in the late 90s’. Some of those trainees went later to Afghanistan and Chechnya.

Redouane Khalid has two brothers already under investigation for alleged terrorism-related matters in France.

Some of the men admitted staying at camps linked to al-Qaeda, but all denied taking part or planning acts of terrorism.


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