February 14, 2018 / 4:21 PM / 7 days ago

French court acquits man who rented flat to Paris attackers

PARIS (Reuters) - A man who rented a flat to two of the Islamist gunmen involved in the November 2015 Paris attacks was cleared on charges of aiding terrorists on Wednesday.

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 on Nov. 13, 2015.

A Paris court ruled on Wednesday there was no proof that Bendaoud knew he was dealing with two of the Nov 13 attackers when he let them use the squat for 150 euros.

Abaaoud and Akrouh died in a police raid on the apartment in the suburb of Saint-Denis on Nov. 18, 2015.

Bendaoud’s arrest was broadcast live on TV at the time. He pleaded his innocence in front of TV cameras before being taken away by police.

Prosecutors had acknowledged that Bendaoud did not necessarily immediately realise he was dealing with two of the Paris attackers.

But they had nevertheless argued that he should be sentenced to four years in jail on a charge of providing safe haven to terrorists.

The only surviving man suspected of being involved in the attacks on Paris cafes and restaurants and the Stade de France stadium, Salah Abdeslam, is being prosecuted in Brussels ahead of a trial in France.

Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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