Court Throws Out French Mother’s Lawsuit over Jihadist Son

A French court on Tuesday threw out a case brought forward by a mother trying to sue the government for failing to stop her teenage son from leaving to join jihadists in Syria, AFP reported.

The boy was 16 when he left with three others from the town of Nice in southern France in December 2013, taking a plane to Turkey and then travelling overland to Syria.

His mother argued that airport police in Nice should have stopped the boy because he had only a one-way ticket and no baggage.

The court, however, rejected the argument and ruled that the airport officers had no case to answer. It turned down a demand for 110,000 euros ($125,000) in compensation.

The mother said Turkey was known as an entry point to Syria, but the court found that "these circumstances are not enough to demonstrate the police service was at fault."

The boy, who was not on any police watchlist nor barred from leaving France, "fulfilled the legal conditions to leave the territory for the destination of Turkey," the court added, according to AFP.

Since January 2013, parents have been able to apply to stop their children leaving the country if they are minors, which the mother did not do.

France has confiscated the passports and identity cards of 60 people under new counter-terrorism powers approved earlier this year to stop people joining jihadist groups abroad, with another 50 cases under consideration.

An estimated 113 French citizens or residents of France have died after joining jihadist groups in the Middle East, the government said earlier this month.

There are 130 ongoing legal cases related to jihadist activities, concerning 650 people, noted AFP.

The government in Paris has also set up a hotline for family and friends that they can use to notify the authorities about potential jihadist recruits. It says a quarter of the 1,864 alerts have been about minors.

EU nationals who have returned to Europe after joining the jihadist cause in the Middle East have been implicated in several recent attacks, including the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in January and an attack on the Brussels Jewish Museum in May 2014.

A top EU official estimated recently that the number of Europeans fighting with jihadist groups in Syria could exceed 6,000.

AFP contributed to this report.


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