France strips a Moroccan convicted of terrorism of his nationality and returns him to Morocco

The French authorities have decided to return the Moroccan Rachid Ait El Haj after his conviction in 2007 for terrorism and to deprive him of his French nationality, according to what the French Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin announced on the platform “L' Express.”

Thus, Ait El Haj, who was sentenced with four other people – three Franco-Moroccans and a Franco-Turk, was sentenced to eight years in prison for “membership in a criminal association with a view to preparing a terrorist act”.

The five men were tried for their direct link with members of a jihadist group responsible for the May 16 terrorist attacks in Casablanca, which left 45 dead, including three French, and around a hundred injured in attacks targeting a restaurant, a hotel and the headquarters of a Jewish association.

Although they were released between 2009 and 2011, Rachid Ait El Haj has continued to arouse concern from the authorities since his release, suspected of having had direct contact with Saïd Ahmed Ghlam, the alleged mastermind of a foiled attack against a church in Villejuif, near Paris, in 2015.

The five men were stripped of their French nationality in 2015 by decrees published in the Official Journal, at the request of the Minister of the Interior at the time, Bernard Cazeneuve, despite an appeal filed with the Council of State.

In this context, the Council of State considered that “taking into account the nature and seriousness of the terrorist acts committed”, “the penalty of forfeiture of nationality was not disproportionate”. He also stressed that “in all cases, the behavior of the person concerned after the acts committed did not allow this assessment to be called into question”. »

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