June 1, 2023


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Eight convicted over Nice truck attack that killed 86 people in 2016 | World News

2 min read
Pic: AP

Eight people have been convicted for their role in a truck attack more than six years ago by an Islamic State sympathiser that killed 86 people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was shot dead by police after he drove his truck at full speed through crowds who were watching fireworks on 14 July 2016.

The attack at Nice’s famed boardwalk Promenade des Anglais killed 86 people including 15 children and left 450 others injured.

The eight defendants, seven men and one woman, were convicted of helping him orchestrate a terrorist attack and the judge gave them prison sentences ranging from two to 18 years.

The judge’s verdict followed more than three months of testimony from survivors of the attack.

Prosecutors agreed not all of them had a clear connection to terrorism or knew what Lahouaiej-Bouhlel planned.

The pair most closely associated with Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, Mohamed Ghraeib and Chokri Chafroud, were convicted of terror charges and handed the longest sentences of 18 years.

The prosecution said both had had “an intense relationship” with Lahouaiej-Bouhlel as Ghraieb had known the attacker for 15 years and had 1,278 telephone communications with him in one year.

Flowers were laid for the victims of the attack in 2016
Flowers were laid for the victims of the attack in 2016

Ghraieb’s lawyer, Vincent Brengarth, said his client would appeal.

Survivors of the attack have welcomed the judge’s verdict and described it as a “small victory”.

Caroline Villani said: “It won’t bring my family back, my mum, my son, but it’s a small victory that feels good.”

Photos and names of the 86 victims of the attack
Photos and names of the 86 victims of the attack

None of the defendants was accused of taking part in the attack or even of complicity – a decision which survivors said they were struggling with.

Islamic State said it carried out the attack a few days after it happened, but offered no proof that the attacker, who had a record of domestic violence and petty crimes, had direct contact with the group.

Read more:
2015 Paris attacks: Islamic State fanatic sentenced to life in jail

Other defendants who were convicted on Tuesday were said to know the perpetrator’s plans more vaguely, such as Ramzi Arefa.

Arefa was convicted of selling the attacker a weapon while allegedly not knowing his terrorist intentions. He received a 12-year prison sentence.

The truck massacre followed deadly attacks in Paris at the Bataclan theatre and other sites in France and Belgium orchestrated by the extremist group.

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