5 teens convicted of firebombing bus in Marseille

Up to nine years in prison were ruled for five teenagers convicted of firebombing a bus in Marseille in an attack that nearly killed a passenger.

In the October 2006 attack, a group of teens poured gasoline around the bus and set in on fire while passengers were still inside. It was the most violent of several bus burnings around the anniversary of riots that had raged through poor neighborhoods nationwide in 2005.

The court for minors in Aix-en-Provence in southern France sentenced the youth who started the fire to nine years in prison and the two who poured the gasoline to seven years.

One teen was handed four years in prison plus one year suspended, while another was given a three-year sentence plus two years suspended. A sixth teen on trial was acquitted.

Prosecutors had requested sentences of between five and 15 years in prison for the six defendants. All were minors at the time of the attack, though two are now 18.

The attack left 26-year-old student Mama Galledou with severe burns on most of her body.

The incident came amid a wave of violence around the first anniversary of riots that started Oct. 27, 2005, when two youths were electrocuted while hiding from police in a power substation northwest of Paris. The unrest unleashed a wave of anger over discrimination and joblessness in suburbs heavily populated by immigrant families of Arab and black African descent.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova