Published: 04 May 2012 15:11 GMT+1
A Franco-Algerian nuclear physicist was sentenced Friday to five years in jail – with one year suspended – for plotting terror attacks in France.
Police arrested Adlene Hicheur, a 35-year-old researcher studying the universe’s birth – the Big Bang – at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in October 2009 after intercepting his emails.
His father embraced him in the Paris court room before he was taken away to serve his term in prison. Hicheur has already spent two and a half years in jail while awaiting trial.
Hicheur admitted at the start of his trial in late March that he was going through a “turbulent” time when he wrote the mails but denied he intended to carry out attacks.
The trial of Hicheur, who was charged with criminal association as part of a terrorist enterprise, began a week after police shot dead Franco-Algerian Mohamed Merah for killing seven people in and around the city of Toulouse.
Prosecutors focused on emails between Hicheur and an alleged Al-Qaeda contact.
Hicheur told the court the emails were written while his “physical and psychological state” was impaired while he was on sick leave for a slipped disc.