Terrorist's brother goes on on trial

The trial of Abdelkader Merah, brother of terrorist Mohamed Merah, began on Monday.

In 2012, Mohamed Merah committed multiple terrorist attacks. He killed three soldiers, paralyzed a fourth, and killed four people at Jewish school in Toulouse. Three of those four were children under the age of 10.

Merah was shot by police after a 32-hour standoff at his apartment.

His attacks shocked France at the time, but they are now seen as the beginning of a long line of Islamist attacks that have plagued the country.

According to France 24, Mohamed’s older brother, Abdelkader, is on trial for complicity in terrorism. Abdelkader has been identified as a radical Islamist. Authorities claim he helped Mohamed prepare for the attacks.

While he once said, “I am proud of my brother… Every Muslim would love to be killed by his enemy,” he now disavows those remarks. He claims he made the comment before he knew the extent of his brother’s plans.

Also on trial is Fettah Malki, who is accused of providing Mohamed Merah with a bulletproof vest that said “POLICE.” Malki also claims he did not know what Mohamed had planned.

Prosecutors believe they have sufficient evidence to cast doubt on Abdelkader’s story. That evidence includes travel records, communication records, and literature found in Merah’s home. There is also the testimony of the third Merah brother, Abdelghani, who has said Abdelkader encouraged Mohamed to plan the attacks.

Eric Dupond-Moretti, Abdelkader’s attorney, maintains the state is prosecuting his client because they are unable to prosecute his dead brother.

Since Merah’s attacks in 2012, 250 people in France have been killed by Islamist terrorists. France is also the European country with the highest number of people joining the Islamic State.

According to Professor Matthew Guidère, Merah, “smashed two taboos and opened the path psychologically for those who came after, who saw a model in him and who said to themselves they could do the same thing, if not worse.”

More restrictive policies have been implemented in the last five years. Merah had traveled to Pakistan, where he was partially radicalized, without difficulty in 2011. On Tuesday, France’s lower house of parliament voted to permanently enshrine in law many of the emergency measures created in response to the 2015 Paris attacks.

The trial is expected to conclude by November. If convicted, Merah could be imprisoned for life.

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