Bulgaria to extradite to France relative of Charlie Hebdo attacker

August 16, 2016 8:10 AM EDT

Partially ripped of stickers reading "I am Charlie" in remembrance of the victims of the terrorist attacks against the Charlie Hebdo magazine are seen on the wooden fence of a construction site in a street in the old city of Strasbourg, France, April 1 20

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SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria is to extradite to France a relative of one of the Islamist militants who attacked satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris last year, following a Bulgarian court ruling on Tuesday.

Mourad Hamyd, who is French and brother-in-law of assailant Cherif Kouachi, was detained in Bulgaria last month after a Paris court issued a European arrest warrant against him. He is suspected of wanting to join Islamic State.

"The court decided to hand over Hamyd to the relevant court authorities of France," Sofia City Court said in a statement.

During a court hearing last week, Hamyd, 20, denied the accusations and said he wanted to be extradited immediately to France, complaining about the way he was treated in Bulgarian custody. Prosecutors denied any wrongdoing and said he had been treated as every other detainee.

Hamyd arrived alone in Bulgaria via Serbia by train on July 26, declaring that he was traveling on holiday. He was detained two days later after being turned back at the Turkish border due to a five-year ban on entering Turkey.

Hamyd was questioned by French police following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015, in which Cherif Kouachi and his brother Said shot dead 12 people before being killed by police, but was cleared of any involvement.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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