March 5. 2024. 9:54

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Three members of far-right group found guilty of plot to attack Emmanuel Macron

A French court on Friday found three members of a far-right group guilty of conspiring to prepare an act of terrorism against president Emmanuel Macron in 2018.

The Paris criminal court handed the three men sentences ranging from three to four years in jail, with one to two years suspended each, saying it found a causal link between preparations they were involved in and the violent project to kill the French president.

Prosecutors said members of the group planned to attack the president with a knife during a first World War memorial ceremony in eastern France in November 2018. They were also suspected of plotting attacks against mosques and migrants.

Charges against a fourth man were reduced to acquisition, possession and handover of weapons, for which he was found guilty and given a six-month suspended sentence.

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Eight others were acquitted despite being involved in preparations, because the causal link couldn’t be proved, a judge told the court.

One last man was acquitted as the court found he only thought he was getting involved in survival training.

The 13 accused, 11 men and two women aged between 26 and 66, were members of the Facebook group “Les Barjols and have been on trial since January 17th.

The group shared far-right ideology over the social media platform, advocating overthrowing the government using weapons and targeting pro-immigration politicians.

Lawyers for the accused had played down their clients’ intentions and described them as bumbling extremists with no plans for action.

Romain Ruiz, a lawyer for one of the nine who were acquitted on Friday, praised the court’s decision, saying it showed “one can be a little bit rational about antiterrorism matters”.

Prosecutors have 10 days to decide whether to appeal the verdict. – Reuters