French court drops charges against landlord of Paris attacks’ ringleader

Paris, Feb 15 (IANS) A French court on Wednesday discharged Jawad Bendaoud, the landlord who provided his apartment to terrorists who killed 130 people here in November 2015.

After a three-week trial, Bendaoud was cleared of “concealment of terrorist criminals” charges. According to the Paris criminal court, no evidence had been found to confirm the suspect knew he was harboring terrorists.

Earlier this month, the prosecution requested a four-year jail term for the 31-year-old drug dealer, Xinhua news agency reported.

Five days after 130 people were killed in France’s worst terror attack on November 13, 2015, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the presumed mastermind of the assaults, was killed by police in Bendaoud’s flat in Saint-Denis, near Paris.

Before his arrest at the time, Bendaoud told French media he had been asked to do a favour and had no idea his hosts were extremists.

The presiding judge also decided to sentence Mohamed Soumah, believed to be the middleman between the attackers and Bendaoud, to five years.

As for Youssef Ait Boulahcen, Abaaoud’s cousin, he was given a four-year jail term with a one-year suspended sentence for not reporting a terrorist act.

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