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Alleged jihadist free due to French judge's error

Alleged Islamic State fighters in detention in Iraq in May
Alleged Islamic State fighters in detention in Iraq in May AFP
2 min

An alleged Islamist terror plotter was freed in April because an investigating judge forget to renew his pretrial custody, France's justice ministry has admitted after revelations in the press.

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Oualid B walked out of preventive detention on 3 April despite the fact that he is one of the defendants in a case over an alleged planned terror attack in the Lyon area in 2014 and in a network to send fighters to Syria.

He has since been free but under "strict judicial control", according to the ministry, which confirmed a story in the Canard Enchaîné weekly.

An internal inquiry has been ordered but, according to the paper, the judge refused to resign when asked to by his bosses.

Oualid B was arrested again in May when he was found outside the area to which he was assigned by his judicial control.

He was driving without a licence and his mobile contained Islamic State armed group propaganda, according to the Canard Enchaîné.

He appeared before a court immediately but was freed again, despite prosecutors calling for a 10-month prison sentence.

The prosecutors have appealed.

Fifteen people are accused of involvement in the alleged terror plot, including Reda Bekhaled and his two brothers.

Eight of them, including the Bekhaled brothers, left France to fight in Syria and Iraq and are subject to an international arrest warrant.

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