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France

French court convicts three ‘would-be-jihadists’

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-07

A court in Paris on Friday convicted three young men who are believed to have tried unsuccessfully to join rebel forces in Syria fighting against the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad.

The court handed the three defendants – Youssef Ettaoujar, 26, Salah-Eddine Gourmat, 24, and Fares Farsi, 21 – sentences ranging from two to five years in prison for criminal association with the intent to commit terrorism.

Ettaoujar, Gourmat and Farsi were arrested at an airport near the southeastern city of Saint-Etienne on May 14, 2012 while trying to board a flight for Turkey.

In their luggage, police found holsters, tactical vests, night-vision goggles and camcorders, all of which had been purchased just days before their planned departure.

The ruling comes amid concerns in France about the growing number of citizens or residents travelling to Syria in the hopes of taking up arms in the country’s nearly three-year conflict.

The sentencing in the case has widely been interpreted as a sign that the courts do not intend to be lax when it comes to such cases.

Just last week, a 14-year-old girl was stopped in France’s southeastern city of Lyon shortly before boarding a flight to Turkey, according to the prosecutor’s office in Grenoble, her hometown.

Turkey is a common route to Syria.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

Date created : 2014-03-07

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