France: 12 jihadists given prison sentences

Twelve members of a France-based jihadist network that sent fighters to Syria were given prison sentences on Tuesday, including a woman who had taken her three children to join her husband there, AFP reports.

The court in Paris heard that the group had become radicalized after attending a mosque in Villiers-sur-Marne in the Paris suburbs where they came into contact with their "guru", a radical imam called Mustapha Mraoui.

Mraoui, who is on the run, and another man, Karim Assani, who held a religious post at the mosque, were considered by prosecutors to be the organizers of the network. They were each sentenced to 10 years in prison in absentia.

Investigators believe Assani has probably been killed fighting in Syria.

Only five of the 12 defendants were present in court, including the 27-year-old woman who had taken her three children to Syria.

The court heard that she is now in the process of divorcing her husband whom she was visiting there.

She was sentenced to five years in prison, three of which are suspended.

France says around 600 French citizens have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group, and some 280 of them have returned.

Most of the gunmen and bombers who killed 130 people in the series of attacks on Paris in November had been to Syria.

Radicalization has been an issue not just for France, but for many countries in Europe and around the world.

In January, a key French member of ISIS who had ties to the Charlie Hebdo attackers was sentenced in absentia by a Paris court to 15 years in prison.

Other countries dealing with radicalized locals who join jihadists in Iraq and Syria include GermanySpainSwedenBelgium and Britain.

AFP contributed to this report.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/210789

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