Convicted, yes, but sentenced to “slap on the wrist” prison terms. From Reuters:
PARIS – A top French court jailed three men for terrorist conspiracy on Thursday after finding them guilty of helping “shoebomber” Richard Reid, who narrowly failed to destroy a U.S. airliner over the Atlantic.
The court found they had helped Reid during his stay in Paris ahead of his abortive attempt to destroy a Paris-Miami American Airlines flight mid-Atlantic in December 2001 with a bomb hidden inside one of his shoes.
Jacqueline Rebeyrotte, presiding judge at the main Paris criminal court, sentenced Ghulam Rama to five years in prison and expulsion from France once his sentence was served.
Rama, 67, a Pakistani with joint British nationality, has already spent three years in jail awaiting trial. It was not immediately clear if he would appeal.
His co-accused, Frenchmen Hakim Mokhfi and Hassan El Cheguer, both aged 31, were each jailed for four years, one year suspended. The court ordered them released as they have been in preventive detention since June 2002.
All three men had pleaded not guilty.
During the trial, the court heard that according to French intelligence, Rama had used trips to Britain, New York, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia between 2001 and 2002 as cover while he organized terrorist attacks.
A French probe on Reid’s activities in France revealed he had used a Paris cyber cafe to contact Pakistan, a trail that led them to Rama, president of the Straight Path Muslim charity.
Rama told police he saw Mokhfi and Cheguer with Reid. His lawyer said before the trial began that Rama was sick and confused when police first asked him if he recognized a photograph of Reid…