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Paris court to try French ‘jihadist’ for beheading Syrian soldier

AFP Photo / HO / AL-Furqan Media | Frenchman Maxime Hauchard (right) allegedly executed the Syrian soldier

The parents of a Syrian soldier murdered by the Islamic State group in Syria are taking their case to a French court because one of the alleged killers is a French citizen, the media reported on Tuesday.

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In a legal first, their civil case against alleged jihadists Maxime Hauchard was accepted by French magistrates last week, according to reports in French newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro.

This is the first time that a Syrian family has opened a civil case against a French citizen waging jihad in Syria.

The Syrian soldier, named as Ghaisse M., was part of a cavalry (armoured) unit based in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa when he was taken hostage in 2014.

In November of that year, a shocking video was released showing Ghaisse and 17 other Syrians, as well as American hostage Peter Kassig, being beheaded.

In the grisly video, jihadists are shown marching the captive Syrian soldiers past a box of combat daggers, which are picked by the militants as they march past with their prisoners. The hostages are then forced to kneel in a line and decapitated. The high-definition video includes close-ups of the extremists.

Hauchard is alleged to have been one of the executioners.

The parents' French lawyer Fabrice Delinde, who travelled to Homs in March to investigate the case against Hachard, told Le Figaro that criminal proceedings on terror charges against the 23-year-old were opened in December.

"The relatives of victims of terrorism abroad have so far never been heard in cases against French terrorists," Delinde stated.

Path to radicatisation

A recent convert to Islam, Hauchard was radicalised on the Internet before converting at 17.

In October 2012, Hauchard traveled to Mauritania, an impoverished West African nation, for religious training before returning to France seven months later. In August 2013, he left for Syria to join the jihad. In an interview with French TV stattion BFM, Hauchard said it was very easy to get into Syria.

Since going to Syria, he has taken the nom-de-guerre Abou Abdallah al-Faransi (the Frenchman in Arabic).

According to French daily Le Figaro, he boasted on Facebook page (which has since been taken down) that about participating in the IS group assault on Mosul in Iraq in June 2014 and declared that he wanted to die a martyr.

The news of Hauchard’s involvement in the execution has shocked residents of his hometiown of Bosc-Roger-en-Roumois, a village in France’s Normandy region.

"He was a nice boy who never caused problems. They must have drugged him," said Jeannine Bret at the time.

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