Four jailed for arms offences in 2007 French riots

For two nights running in 2007, young men hurled petrol bombs at police.

Pontoise: A court here on Saturday handed jail sentences ranging from three to 15 years to four young men accused of arms offences during riots that shook a north Paris suburb in November 2007.

For two nights running, young men hurled petrol bombs and bricks at police, torching cars and buildings in the town of Villiers le Bel, after two teenagers were killed in a motorbike collision with a police car.

Some 120 police officers were injured, four of them seriously after being hit by buckshot from hunting weapons, according to police figures.

Three youths received sentences today of 15, 12 and nine years for shooting at the police while a fourth was jailed for three years for bearing a weapon.

Although the sentences were lower than those called for by the prosecution, defence attorneys attacked them as "extremely harsh".

The lawyer for the injured policemen called the sentences a "just decision" after the 12-day trial marked by hearings of numerous witnesses.

Police unions said the 2007 violence was worse than rioting that hit hundreds of French cities in November 2005 also sparked by the deaths of two youths.


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