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French nuclear physicist Adlene Hicheur's lawyer Patrick Baudoin, March 2012. AP Photo/Thibault Camus/PA
France

CERN scientist jailed over terrorist plot

Adlene Hicheur has been sentenced to five years by a French court.

A NUCLEAR SCIENTIST who worked on the prestigious CERN programme in Switzerland has been sentenced to five years by a French court for planning terrorist attacks.

Adlene Hicheur was arrested in October 2009 on suspicion of planning attacks with a north African al-Qaida group.

He was convicted of criminal association with a view to plotting terrorist attacks, a verdict his lawyer criticised as “scandalous”.

Le Monde said that the defence argued that Hicheur had never met his alleged al-Qaida contact, whom the court heard had exchanged dozens of emails with the scientist, and denied he played any role in plotting attacks.

In one email exchange, the contact urged Hicheur to carry out a suicide bomb attack. Hicheur refused, according to the messages, though he suggested targeting a military barracks in the French town of Cran-Gevrier.

Hicheur was a researcher at CERN, the European laboratory which houses the Large Hadron Collider and carries out experiments to investigate high energy physics.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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