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France jails Moroccan said to have ties to 9/11 hijackers

[JURIST] A Moroccan believed to have ties to two figures connected to the September 11 attacks [JURIST news archive] was sentenced to nine years in prison Thursday after a French criminal court found him guilty of "associating with wrongdoers in connection with a terrorist undertaking," an offense that encompasses a number of criminal activates. Karim Mehdi was arrested [BBC report] in June 2003 in Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, was at the time suspected of planning an attack on a French tourist resort in the Indian Ocean.

French authorities say that Mehdi was associated with both Ramzi bin al-Shaibah [Wikipedia profile], who supposedly coordinated 9/11, and Ziad Jarrah [CBC profile], the hijacker who piloted United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in western Pennsylvania. Mehdi acknowledges knowing the pair, but claimed that he had only met them once with a friend, and did not know of their plans. Mehdi will have to serve at least 6 years in French prison, and would be deported from the country when released. Reuters has more. AFP has local coverage.

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