Franco-Algerian particle physicist Adlène Hicheur was condemned today to a 5-year prison sentence, including one year suspended, on terrorism charges. But Hicheur, 35, may be released before the end of June, says his lawyer, Patrick Baudouin, because of possible sentence reductions and the time he has already spent in custody. Hicheur, a former CERN researcher, has been held in "preventive detention" in a high-security jail near Paris since October 2009. The prosecution in Hicheur's case had asked for a 6-year prison term. During his trial on 29 and 30 March, Hicheur acknowledged exchanging e-mails with Mustafa Debchi, an alleged member of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and discussing future terrorist actions. Baudouin admitted that words used by Hicheur in the e-mails were "disturbing" but argued that his client never took any concrete steps toward a terrorist act. Hicheur himself testified that he had taken morphine because he was in pain at the time, and that he was in a "turbulent period." The court ruled that Hicheur was guilty of "participation in a criminal organization whose goal was to plan terrorist acts."