(JTA) — The trial of the brother of the gunman who killed four at a Jewish school in France in 2012 has begun.
Abdelkader Merah, 35, is being tried for his alleged complicity in the slayings by Mohammed Morah at the Toulouse school, as well as three soldiers.
The trial started Monday in Paris in a special tribunal qualified to review highly classified material presented by the prosecution, the Le Figaro daily reported. The content of the indictment against Merah, whom the prosecution wants imprisoned for life, is subject to a strict gag order.
In addition to Abdelkader Merah, another suspected Islamist, 34-year-old Fettah Malki, also is facing charges of assisting Mohammed Merah carry out terrorist attacks in March 2012. Mohammed Merah gunned down three children and a rabbi at the school. He was killed in a shootout with police at an apartment three days after the school killings.
Both the older brother and Malki have denied having any prior knowledge of Mohammed Merah’s planned attacks, but police say they have evidence suggesting both were involved in preparations. Abdelkader Merah also supported his brother spiritually and psychologically in his becoming a terrorist, the prosecution said.
Born to a family of four children, Mohammed Merah was “raised to be an anti-Semite because anti-Semitism was part of the atmosphere at home,” his youngest brother, Abdelghani, said in 2013.
Abdelghani Merah has denounced his family publicly, calling their denials and claims of innocence part of their belief in taqqiyah — an Islamic term meaning “subterfuge” in the service of jihad.
The Merahs’ sister, Souad, fled France after authorities there questioned her for saying she was proud of her brother. She and her four children were seen three years ago in the Turkish city of Gazyantep, where they are believed to have crossed into Syria to join the Islamic State terrorist group, according to the TF1 television series.