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Morocco Gives Life Term to French Muslim

September 19, 2003|From Associated Press

RABAT, Morocco — A French convert to Islam was convicted and sentenced to life in prison Thursday on charges of trying to organize an uprising in this North African nation.

Pierre Robert, 31, had faced the death penalty for the terrorism-related charges. The three-judge panel deliberated more than 12 hours.

On the trial's last day, Robert made a final plea of innocence and asked Morocco's king to intervene in his behalf.

Robert and 33 others on trial with him were arrested in a crackdown following suicide bombings May 16 in Casablanca, Morocco's largest city. The attacks killed 45 people, including 12 bombers. Two of Robert's co-defendants were also sentenced to life in prison, and others received sentences of up to 30 years. Two were acquitted.

Robert's case is not directly related to the bombings. He was found guilty of "undermining state security" and "forming a criminal gang in relation with a terrorist enterprise."

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