Trial starts diving into France’s homegrown jihadi violence

Source: Associated Press

By PHILIPPE SOTTO

PARIS (AP) — More than five years after a French-Algerian extremist killed three children and a teacher at a Jewish school and three soldiers in a shooting rampage, emotions still proved raw on the first day of a trial of two men accused of helping him.

The 23-year-old gunman, Mohammed Merah, died days after the March 2012 killings in the southern Toulouse region, following a 32-hour televised standoff with France’s police special forces.

His older brother and main defendant, Abdelkader Merah, who is accused of complicity in the killings, appeared before professional magistrates Monday. The trial — the first time any charges in the attacks have reached court — is expected to last a month.

Abdelkader Merah, also a double French and Algerian national, entered the courtroom dressed all in white, with a long black beard and a bushy ponytail. He faces up to life in prison if convicted. A verdict is expected in early November.

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