Menad Benchellali

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Menad Benchellali is a suspected terrorist arrested in France on January 6, 2004.[1] Benchellali is alleged to have been an al Qaeda chemical weapons specialist.

According to the Washington Post, Benchellali was known as "the chemist.[2] French investigators assert that, when Benchellali returned to France, from Afghanistan, he built a home lab in his bedroom, where he manufactured ricin.

Benchellali is reported to have sent his younger brother and a friend, Nizar Sassi, to Afghanistan.[3] Mourad and Sassis were captured and detained in Guantanamo.

Benchellali, was convicted, along with 24 others, on June 14, 2006 for their roles in planning a terrorist attack that was to have taken place in France to support Chechen independence.[4] Benchellali was described as the group's leader, and received a 10-year sentence. Benchellali's father, , , a younger brother, and , his mother, were also convicted for their roles.

Mourad Benchellali published a book about his experiences, and on June 14, 2006 the New York Times published an op-ed by Mourad, in which he blamed Menad for tricking him into attending a military training camp on what he thought would be a kind of vacation.[5] Mourad said he was looking forward to his day in court, for attending that training camp, after spending years in detention, without charge, in Guantanamo.


  1. ^ Al-Qaida terror plot foiled, say French police, The Guardian, January 12, 2004
  2. ^ An Al Qaeda 'Chemist' and the Quest for Ricin, Washington Post, May 4, 2004
  3. ^ Nizar Sassi: A French Detainee Waiting to Return Home, Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism
  4. ^ French court convicts 25 for planning attack, Globe and Mail, June 14, 2006
  5. ^ New York Times, June 14, 2006