France convicts Iraq war recruiters

Seven men found guilty of influencing Parisian youth to become fighters in Iraq war.

    The men were convicted of going to Iraq to fight or of recruiting Parisians to fight there [GALLY/GETTY]
    The tribunal correctionnel de Paris found Benyettou guilty of sending youths "to fight in Iraq, possibly by carrying out suicide attacks, after joining the troops of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi".
    Al-Zarqawi was Al-Qaeda's leader in Iraq before being killed in a US air strike in 2006.
    Benyettou admitted in court he may have influenced local youths by defending suicide attacks committed in the name of Islam, but said they were already determined to join the war.
    But he said he had "a right to have convictions" even "extremist" ones.
    Syrian schools
    Hakim, whose brother was killed in Fallujah and who himself fought in Iraq, was found guilty of inciting fellow Parisians to go there, through videos shot in the country, and by facilitating their trip.
    A third defendant, Said Abdellah, a Moroccan national, was given a seven year sentence for his connections with a string of recruitment networks, including the Paris operation.
    Nacer Eddine Mettai, a 37-year-old Algerian already serving out a separate six-year jail sentence, was given four years for supplying potential fighters with fake identity documents.
    All four have been in custody since the start of the investigation. Both Mettai and Abdellah were definitively banned from French territory once they leave jail.
    Mohammed El Ayouni, a French citizen who lost an eye and a forearm in Fallujah in November 2004, received an 18-month sentence, as did Thamer Bouchnak and Cherif Kouachi, who were arrested just before leaving for Syria.
    The court heard that after brief paramilitary training, the men were sent to schools in Syria that specialised in smuggling foreign fighters across the border to Iraq.
    El Ayouni, Bouchnak and Kouachi have already served out their sentences in pre-trial detention.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.