Seven men have been found guilty in France of supporting ISIL, either by recruiting or suppling logistical or other support, or by travelling to Syria for military training.
Prosecutors claimed all seven were determined to join a jihadi group. One, Karim Mohamed-Aggad, is the brother of one of the Paris attackers. His lawyer said he was found guilty by association.
“I think that this decision was one of fear, in a fearful France, by a jurisdiction which is here to respond to this fear, a jurisdiction which had no free will whatsoever. We all knew that so we’re not surprised. He certainly suffered because of his name, he was the first one to be questioned, the first one to face the weight of the public accusation during the proceedings, we’re not surprised at all,” said Francoise Cotta.
Foued Mohamad-Aggad was killed in the Paris attacks and had been a prominent French ISIL operative before he took part in the Bataclan massacre which killed 90 mostly young people.
Karim will serve nine years in prison. He sought to distance his case from that of his brother during the trial, saying at one point: “You choose your friends, not your family.”
Some of defendants told investigators they had believed they were going to Syria on a humanitarian mission. Others said they left to fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces but not to become Islamist militants.
However investigators insisted evidence from wiretaps and from “jihad“ documents found in the computers and mobile phones of the suspects contradicted these statements.