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Man acquitted of harbouring Paris attackers in his flat

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Man acquitted of harbouring Paris attackers in his flat

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A French court has acquitted a man charged with harbouring two members of so-called Islamic State after they carried out the Paris attacks in 2015.

The prosecution had demanded that Jawad Bendaoud, who had already been detained in solitary confinement for two years and three months before being brought to trial, receive a four-year prison sentence.

The presiding judge said the Paris court found Jawad Bendaoud, 31, not guilty of providing lodging to two of the attackers and helping them hide from police when they were the most-wanted criminals in France.

"There is no evidence that Jawad Bendaoud provided accommodation to terrorists," said President Isabelle Prévost-Desprez.

Bendaoud denied knowing the identity of the men to whom he rented a small flat in Saint-Denis. One of the two men he sheltered was Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks

The court also convicted and sentenced his two co-defendants.

Mohamed Soumah, who was accused of acting as an intermediary with Bendaoud to secure lodging for the two fugitives, received a five-year prison sentence.

Youssef Ait-Boulahcen, who was accused of knowing the extremist's whereabouts and not informing authorities, was sentenced to three years plus another year that was suspended.

Both had denied the accusations.