Bulgarian court approves extradition of French terror suspect

Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris. (File, AP)
Masked gunman run towards a victim of their gun fire outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris. (File, AP)

Sofia — A French citizen with family ties to the attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper in Paris will be extradited to France to face terror charges, a Bulgarian court ruled on Tuesday.

The Sofia City Court announced that Mourad Hamyd, 20, didn't take advantage of a three-day deadline to withdraw the approval he had given to be sent back to France.

Hamyd was arrested on a French arrest warrant in Bulgaria on July 29. French authorities say they suspect he planned to join the Islamic State group in Syria or Iraq.

Hamyd, who has denied the allegations, is the brother-in-law of Cherif Kouachi, one of the men who attacked Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.

He initially was suspected of a role in the attack that killed 12 people at the paper. His high school classmates launched a successful social media campaign to clear his name, saying he was in class at the time.

The warrant for his arrest last month was based on his sister Khadija's report to police that her brother had boarded a train via Hungary and Serbia to Bulgaria, even though he had told her he would travel to Morocco.

"This route corresponds with the route that is usually chosen by the jihadist volunteers that want to join the Islamic State group in Syria or Iraq," the arrest warrant said.

If he is found guilty of the terror charges by a French court, he could face up to 10 years in prison.

Tuesday's court decision is final and cannot be appealed. The extradition legally must be take place within the next seven days.

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