Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Colombia peace deal will be ‘lasting’, FARC rebel leader tells FRANCE 24

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Ghanaian President Mahama concedes defeat to opposition leader Afuko-Addo

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Trump's TV Career Continues

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

President Park Impeached, Ghana's High Stakes Election (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Aleppo Offensive, Renzi Resigns, Trump's Cards (part 2)

Read more

ENCORE!

South Korea: An inside look at the K-pop wave

Read more

#THE 51%

Diving back in: Offering support for French mothers returning to work

Read more

REPORTERS

Chaotic post-hurricane relief efforts in Haiti

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Cash crunch casualties: India's wedding industry suffers from currency changes

Read more

France

French 'would-be jihadists' go on trial in Paris

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-31

The trial of three French men accused of attempting to travel to Syria to join jihadists fighting in the country began in Paris on Thursday.

Youssef Ettaoujar, 26, Salah-Eddine Gourmat, 24, and 21-year-old Fares Farsi wanted to go to Syria to procure weapons, undergo military training, and go into combat, prosecutors claim.

They say the men, who all lived with their parents in the Paris area, had planned to travel to a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey to make contacts before then travelling on to Syria.

However, police had placed them under surveillance and the three were arrested in May 2012 at an airport near Saint-Etienne as they attempted to board a flight to Turkey.

All three are charged with “criminal association in relation to a terrorist organisation”, with the trial expected to last two days.

Prosecutors say the case against the men is based on numerous wire taps, the men’s purchase of combat equipment such as tactical vests and gun holsters, and on searches of their computers and mobile phones.

700 French nationals fighting in Syria

Of the three, only Farsi admits to jihadist intentions, but claims he wanted to abort the plan following the March 2012 Toulouse terrorist attack by radical Islamist Mohamed Merah, who shot dead three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers.

Farsi said that he believed “a combatant of God cannot kill children”, but that he decided to stay with the group for fear of being declared an “apostate” by Ettaoujar, believed to be the group’s leader.

Ettaoujar and Gourmat have both said they had wanted to travel to Syria not to fight but to film a report.

Farsi claims though that cameras found in the men’s possession were there to film their jihadist experiences to encourage other French youth to follow their example, while also acting as an alibi at border crossings.

A number of French nationals, estimated to be as many as 700 by Interior Minister Manuel Valls, are already believed to be fighting in Syria.

On Wednesday, two French teens from the south western city of Toulouse were taken into custody having also been caught attempting to travel to Syria to fight alongside jihadists battling the country’s president Bashar al-Assad.

Date created : 2014-01-30

  • FRANCE

    French teens caught en route to Syria taken into custody

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    A detailed look at Syria’s Islamist, jihadist groups

    Read more

  • FRANCE - SYRIA

    France arrests four suspected Syria jihadists

    Read more

COMMENT(S)