Frenchman sent to prison for recruiting jihadists

35-year-old man sentenced to 22 years in prison for seeking to recruit dozens of youths to fight as jihadists in Syria.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Jihadists (illustration)
Jihadists (illustration)

A Frenchman has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for seeking to recruit dozens of youths to fight as jihadists in Syria and for leading a brigade of French-speaking Islamists in the country, AFP reported on Saturday.

Mourad Fares, 35, fled Syria in 2014, and was arrested in Turkey and handed over to French authorities the same year.

Prosecutors said he played a "crucial" role in the recruiting of young people to fight as jihadists in Syria, and noted a lack of any "real regret" for his actions.

Fares appeared unmoved as the verdict was read out at a special court Friday evening, according to AFP.

He admitted to the court he "indirectly" recruited youths to fight as jihadists via his propaganda videos and "facilitated" the entry of a number of people into Syria.

He denied taking part in combat operations in Syria, where he travelled in 2014.

But prosecutors said he "participated in armed actions" with the Islamic State (ISIS) group, before leaving to a join a cell of French-speaking jihadists affiliated with the Al-Nusra front.

The court also found Fares guilty of leading this cell.

France has been hit by a number of attacks claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in recent years, the biggest one being the attack in November of 2015 in which 129 people were murdered.

More than 250 people have been killed in total in France since the start of 2015, when 12 people were murdered in an attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo attack.

Following the Charlie Hebdo attack, a man linked to ISIS shot and killed a policewoman in a Paris suburb before taking hostages at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket the following day, killing four more people.

In more recent attacks, a police employee who converted to Islam and became radicalized stabbed four colleagues to death in October.

Earlier this month, a 22-year-old radicalized man stabbed one person to death and injured two others in a park in the Paris area.

This week, French security forces arrested seven men believed to be planning a terror attack in the country and preparing to travel to conflict zones in Iraq and Syria.