Algeria says no to Toulouse gunman Merah burial

Algeria has reportedly refused permission for the Islamist gunman Mohammed Merah be buried in the North African country.

Merah, who was of Algerian descent, died last Thursday after a 32-hour stand-off with police. In the weeks leading up to this he killed three French paratroopers and four people – including three children – outside a Jewish school in Toulouse.

His Algerian-born father requested that Merah be buried in a family plot in Medea, but officials said they did not want him to be for security reasons.

"Algeria has nothing to do with this case, and we do not understand why some circles in France are trying to involve us in it," said a government official. "This is why we took the decision to not admit the body for now in Algeria."

According to Abdallah Zekri of the French Muslim Council, permission was refused for "reasons of public order."

But the mayor of Toulouse also objected to a plan whereby Merah would be buried in a Muslim cemetery in Toulouse. "Pierre Cohen feels that his interment on the territory of the city of Toulouse is not appropriate," said a spokesman for the mayor.

Mohamed Benalel Merah, the gunman's father, has said he plans to sue the French government for not taking his son into custody alive.

Last updated: 10:59am, March 30 2012