(JTA) — Preliminary murder and terrorism charges were filed against the brother of Toulouse killer Mohammed Merah.
Abdelkader Merah, 30, was served with the charges on Sunday, an official from the French prosecutor’s office said. A prosecutor’s statement said that Merah is suspected of complicity to murders and thefts and involvement in a terrorist enterprise, according to reports.
Mohammed Merah, 23, a French citizen of Algerian origin, confessed during the more than 30-hour standoff at his apartment in Toulouse to a gun attack on the city’s Ozar Hatorah school on March 19 that killed Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, and his two young sons, as well as the 7-year-old daughter of the school’s principal. The younger Merah, who jumped to his death from a window amid a hail of gunfire, also was wanted for the murders of three French troops.
Preliminary charges under French law mean there is strong reason to suspect a crime was committed but allow added time to investigate. The moves suggest that investigators have strong reason to believe that the younger Merah was not acting alone when he planned his attacks.
Prosecutor Francois Molins said the inquiry also is looking at any other possible accomplices in planning the attacks on the school and the soldiers in nearby Montauban.
Investigators are trying to determine what role the older Merah played in acquiring his younger brother’s arsenal and financing his trips to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East.
Abdelkader Merah’s girlfriend was released early Sunday without charge. The Merah brothers’ mother was released Friday night, also without charge.