Former CERN Physicist Jailed in Terrorist Plot
Posted on May 4, 2012
Adlene Hicheur, a 35-year-old Algerian-born nuclear physicist who worked in Switzerland’s CERN laboratory, was sentenced to five years in prison by a French court for “criminal association with a view to plotting terrorist attacks” on a French barracks with al-Qaida’s North African affiliate.
Claiming to have only explored jihadist ideas without any plans to carry them out, Hicheur says he is a victim of overzealous French anti-terror laws. —ARK
The case centred on about 35 emails between Hicheur and an alleged contact with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb through Mustapha Debchi, who tried to convince him to carry out a suicide bombing. Hicheur declined, but in one response suggested striking at the barracks of a battalion of elite Alpine troops in the eastern town of Cran-Gevrier.
Hicheur claimed he was on morphine for a herniated disc and was going through a personal “zone of turbulence” when he wrote an email in 2009 that advocated an attack on the barracks.
The brother and father of Adlene Hicheur speak to reporters outside the Paris courthouse where he was tried.