A criminal court in Paris, France, has sentenced a Muslim extremist for killing a woman and attempting to bomb a church in 2015, to life imprisonment.
Sidi Ahmed Ghlam, a 29-year-old Algerian man who had previously sworn allegiance to ISIS, but has since regretted the decision, was sentenced Thursday after a jury convicted him on murder and attempted terrorist murder charges.
According to the Associated Press, the Syria-based sponsors of Ghlam’s actions are believed to also be connected to more recent deadly acts of terror in the European country.
Jean-Hubert Portejoie, who served as the lawyer for Ghlam, plans to appeal the verdict, claiming that the court “ruled on a rush of emotion” and “the pressure of public opinion,” reported the AP.
The Paris criminal court also convicted in absentia Abdelnasser Benyoucef and Samir Nouad, two operatives tied to the attempted church attack who are believed to have been killed in Syria.
In April 2015, French police arrested Ghlam under suspicion of planning terrorist attacks in Paris, as well as the charges of murder and attempted murder. He has denied killing a woman outside a church.
That same year, authorities discovered what was called an “ISIS hit list” at the residence of Ghlam, which included several churches that the terrorist group intended to attack.
One of the churches on the list was located in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray near Rouen, France. In 2016, two ISIS militants killed an 84-year-old Catholic priest who served at the church.
Authorities found evidence that Ghlam conspired with Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was suspected of coordinating the 2015 Paris attacks that resulted in around 130 deaths. Abaaoud was later killed by police.
The Ghlam sentence comes as multiple terrorist attacks have hit France. Last month, a teacher was beheaded after showing a caricature of Muhammad to a class on free speech.
French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement in response to the murder of the teacher that it was an attack not just on the teacher, but also the “the republic and its values.”
“One of our compatriots was assassinated today because he taught. He taught his students about freedom of expression, freedom to believe or not believe. It was a cowardly attack,” stated Macron, as reported by The Guardian.
“I want to say to teachers all over France, we are with them, the whole nation is with them today and tomorrow. We must protect them, defend them, allow them to do their job and educate the citizens of tomorrow.”
Later in October, 21-year-old Brahim Aioussaoi from Tunisia attacked worshipers at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice with a knife, resulting in three deaths before he was arrested.
“My sadness is infinite as a human being in front of what other beings, called humans, can do,” said Nice Bishop André Marceau in a statement. “May the spirit of Christ’s pardon prevail against these barbaric acts.”