The prosecution had sought the death penalty for Pierre Robert, a 32-year-old convert to Islam, and five of 33 co-defendants who were accused of planning attacks and of having organised or participated in weapons training in Morocco.

The blond, blue-eyed Robert - who claimed during the trial to have been a French spy - stood silent when the judge pronounced his verdict. Some other defendants punched the air, and shouted "Allahu Akbar" - God is great.

"We are relieved that he (Robert) was not sentenced to death," his lawyer Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse told reporters adding that the defence would appeal the guilty verdict.

Two more defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment, one was given 30 years for undermining state security, criminal conspiracy and possession of weapons, and other sentences ranged from three months to 20 years. One man was acquitted. None of the accused was sentenced to death.

France denies knowledge

The second-hand car trader was not accused of direct involvement in the Casablanca attacks.

Robert was arrested less than four weeks after the 16 May bombings in Casablanca on charges of recruiting for an Islamist group dubbed the Salafist Jihad by security services.

The second-hand car trader was not accused of direct involvement in the attacks which killed 33 members of the public and 12 bombers. Four people were sentenced to death in August in connection with the bombings.

Robert said during the trial that he had been recruited by French intelligence services to investigate Islamist networks in Morocco and Algeria but France denied his claims.

He denied he had planned explosions in France and Morocco. His defence said the prosecution lacked material evidence against him.

He has lived in Morocco since 1996 after marrying a Moroccan woman and settling in the northern city of Tangiers.