Katowice, Poland – A 27-year-old Moroccan, accomplice of the suspected mastermind of the 2015 Paris terror attacks and presumed member of the Islamic State (ISIS), was sentenced on Friday to three years and eight months in prison by a Polish court.
This is the first trial of its kind, involving a high-ranking member of the Islamic State, to take place in Poland, a country sparred by the wave of terrorist attacks that shook Europe in recent years.
Mourad T., whose full name cannot be disclosed for legal reasons, was arrested in Poland in 2016 by the Polish counterintelligence agency ABW, in the south-western city of Rybnik.
During the hearing, he pleaded not guilty to the charges of being part of a terror group, according to AFP reports: “I swear that I’m not affiliated with any terrorist organisation. I don’t have any connections with terrorism. I’m against terrorism”, he told the court in his closing testimony.
The court in the southern city of Katowice found him guilty, but the verdict is subject to appeal by the defendant.
During the investigations, prosecutors found that Mourad T. was involved with ISIS from 2014 to 2016, and worked as an “accomplice” and “scout” of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015 – Abaaoud was killed by French police five days after the Paris killings in an anti-terror raid.
According to Polish prosecutors, Mourad T. met with Abaaoud during a high-profile ISIS meeting in the Turkish city of Edirne in late 2014, and used several fake identities to travel through Europe, staying in several countries including Austria, Hungary and Greece.