French Islamists charged with targeting Jewish judge

3 Apr 2012 by CST

13 French Islamists connected to the banned Forsane Alizza group are to be charged with a series of terrorist offences, including a plot to kidnap a Jewish judge in Lyon. According to a report in the Guardian:

Prosecutor François Molins told a news conference the Forsane Alizza group, or Knights of Pride, did physical training in parks and forests, collected weapons and preached hate and violence on their internet site, which showed clips of late al-Qaida leader, Osama bin Laden.

The site was shut down after the authorities banned Forsane Alizza in March.

The 13 were among 17 suspects detained in police raids last week. They face preliminary charges of criminal association with a terrorist network, a sweeping charge with a maximum 10-year prison term that is used in France to ensure a full investigation of terror suspects. Nine of the 13 were being jailed, Molins said. Charges of acquiring, transporting and detention of arms also were issued. The remaining four, who had been detained, were being released.

The prosecutor said several terrorist plans appeared to be afoot, including the kidnapping of a judge in Lyon, in south-east France. An official close to the investigation said the targeted judge was Jewish.

Although these arrests appear to be the result of a crackdown following the murder of seven people, including four at a Jewish school in Toulouse, by Mohammed Merah, so far there is no evidence of a connection:

The prosecutor stressed the group had no link to the three attacks last month around Toulouse that left seven people dead: three paratroopers, a rabbi and three Jewish school children. The Toulouse gunman, Mohamed Merah, 23, who had claimed to have links to al-Qaida, was killed after a long armed standoff with police. The authorities have said his case was an example of so-called lone-wolf terrorism, and claimed that Merah became radical on his own, in his prison cell.

Nonetheless, investigators are still searching for any potential accomplices of Merah's, and his older brother remains in custody.

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“Since 2003, CST has been a stalwart supporter of ODIHR in its efforts to effectively monitor antisemitic hate crime in the OSCE Region. With its rigorous methodology and innovative partnerships with the British police, it is viewed by many as representing the gold standard for NGO responses to all forms of hate crime. I wish CST all success in its exciting new phase of work.”

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OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights