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French cyber-jihadist jailed for glorifying terrorism

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-05

A young jihadist who ran a French website where he published al Qaeda propaganda was sentenced to a year in prison on Tuesday on charges of glorifying and inciting terrorism.

Romain L., a 27-year-old Muslim convert who used the pseudonym Abu Siyad Al-Normandy on the Internet, was arrested on September 17 in Calvados, where he lives.

His arrest was the first under a law passed in December 2012 following a series of shootings in the south of France by Islamist gunman Mohamed Merah, which made incitement to terrorism an offence punishable by five years in prison and a fine of up to 45,000 euros.

The accused man admitted that he was the administrator of the jihadist site Ansar Al-Haqq, a radical Islamist platform. He was also charged with having translated and released two editions of the al Qaeda magazine "Inspire" which calls for jihad.

"Inspire" is published in English in Yemen and was written by Samir Khan, an American of Pakistani origin. An influential American imam of Yemeni origin, Anwar Al-Awlaqi, was a frequent contributor. Both were killed by US drones in Yemen.

"I'm sorry...I take responsibility," Romain L. said in court on February 14 during a hearing at which he unsuccessfully requested his release. With his black hair pulled back and sporting a long beard, he spoke of “error” and "negligence."

"I did not intend to break the law or incite people to do wrong," Romain L. said at his hearing, asking to be allowed to rejoin his family and "resume a normal life."

"He is the only person being held in France at the moment” for such acts, said his lawyer, Thomas Klotz. Klotz said that the charges were contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-03-04

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