two men sentenced to 24 and 28 years of imprisonment

They were accused of planning an attack in Marseille during the 2017 presidential campaign. Eight other defendants received sentences ranging from two to 13 years in prison.



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The Paris Courthouse, February 2, 2023. (AMAURY CORNU / HANS LUCAS)

Two men accused of planning an attack in Marseille during the 2017 presidential campaign were sentenced to 24 and 28 years of criminal imprisonment by the Paris Special Assize Court on Sunday December 3. This conviction is accompanied by a two-thirds security period.

The prosecution had requested the maximum sentence provided for by law, i.e. 30 years, against Clément Baur and Mahiedine Merabet, tried for criminal terrorist association. According to the prosecution, they sought to contact the Islamic State group via the Telegram platform to send it a video of allegiance and demands. But it was with an undercover DGSI agent that their video landed.

It showed dozens of munitions arranged on a table in such a way as to write “Talion’s law”alongside a machine gun, an IS flag and the front page of the edition of World of March 16, 2017, with a photo of LR presidential candidate, François Fillon, as well as photos of children victims of bombings in Syria.

A “imminent action”

The two men were arrested in Marseille five days before the first round of the 2017 presidential election. In their hideout, the police discovered more than 3.5 kg of TATP, a homemade explosive popular with jihadists, and an Uzi machine gun. loaded, three pistols, hundreds of ammunition, a tactical vest, a hunting knife, a GoPro camera… Enough to commit carnage and film it, according to the prosecution.

THE “acting out” by Clément Baur and Mahiedine Merabet was “imminent”, assured the representatives of the prosecution. Among the internet searches carried out by the two men were terms like “gay sauna”, “libertine club”, “FN bar”, “Le Pen Marseille meeting”, “American bar”, “kosher restaurant”“So many targets which met the objectives of the Islamic State”underlined one of the general advocates.

No clearly defined target

“There was never any plan for an attack,” affirmed the two accused at the hearing. No target could be clearly defined during the trial. The lawyers of the two main accused had warned the court against the risk of “miscarriage of justice” by condemning their client to “a deterrent sentence”. “The prosecution wants to deprive me of my life. I have not deprived anyone of their life”declared Clément Baur.

Among the ten other accused (including one on the run), the court pronounced two acquittals and sentences ranging from two years, suspended for one year, to 13 years of criminal imprisonment. Only one of these accused, sentenced to six years of detention, was placed under arrest warrant at the end of the hearing. Those convicted have ten days to appeal.

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