Man who rented apartment to Paris attackers found not guilty

Man who rented apartment to Paris attackers found not guilty

A French court has acquitted a man of charges of harboring killers who carried out the 2015 Paris terror attacks in the first trial related to the country's deadliest extremist violence since World War II. He was mocked in France for pleading his innocence as he was arrested live on television.

"It can not be proven that Jawad Bendaoud provided accommodation to the terrorists.in order to shelter them from being found", Prevost-Desprez told the court.

Prosecutors are seeking a four-year jail term for Jawad Bendaoud, though more serious terrorism charges have been dropped after they said there was insufficient evidence that he knew the men were attackers.

"Someone asked me for a favour, I helped them out", he said.

The attackers, Abdelhamid Abaaoud and Chakib Akrouh, hid out in Jawad Bendaoud's flat after they and a group of other gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in 2015.

The attacks in Paris on the night of 13 November 2015 was carried out by gunmen and suicide bombers who nearly simultaneously targeted a concert hall, a sports stadium, restaurants and bars, leaving hundreds wounded in addition to those killed. Bendaoud (pictured right in a file court sketch) was accused of harbouring two of the jihadists in the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris attacks.

The presiding judge also made a decision to sentence Mohamed Soumah, believed to be the middleman between the attackers and Bendaoud, to five years. Youssef Ait-Boulahcen, who was accused of being aware of the extremist's whereabouts and not informing authorities, was sentenced to three years.

While it is his co-defendants that are going to jail, Bendaoud, who has been held in isolation for much of the past two years, dominated the trial with dramatic and comic outbursts.

"I may go one day to hell", he said.

He is not expected to go on trial in France until 2020 at the earliest.

The court has been packed for the trial, which started days before a separate case in Belgium involving Salah Abdeslam, believed to be the only surviving attacker from the Paris atrocities.

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