Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Mourad Benchellali



"Terrorism (associating with, belonging to, or collaborating with a terrorist group)"


1 year

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Judicially Exonerated

Summary of Case:

"The five co-defendants, Ridouane Khalid, Brahim Yadel, Khaled ben Mustafa, Nizar Sassi and Mourad Benchellali, were convicted in 2007 by a Paris court of "criminal association with a terrorist enterprise." They were each sentenced to one year in prison. All five men were arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 and were imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay from 2002 until 2004, when they were then released to French custody and imprisoned in France. They each spent between 3-1/2 and 4 years in custody before their release in 2005, prior to their trial. The convictions of all five co-defendants were overturned by a French appeals court on February 24, 2009, and they were acquitted of the charge due to insufficient evidence, after evidence obtained illegally by French counterintelligence officials was excluded from consideration. Contrary to French law, the DST acted as both a spy agency and a judicial police service."

Conviction Caused By:

Information illegally obtained by a French counterintelligence agency.

Innocence Proved By:

"The convictions of all five co-defendants were overturned by a French appeals court on February 24, 2009, which acquitted all five codefendants."

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Was Perpetrator Identified?

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Middle eastern roots

Information Source 1:

"Paris appeals court acquits ex-Guantanamo inmates, The Associated Press, February 26, 2009"

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Information Source 2:

"5 Ex-Gitmo Inmates Acquitted in France, By Julien Proult (AP writer), Time magazine, February 24, 2009"

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