French jihadist sentenced to ten years in prison following return from Syria

Nicolas Moreau, a convicted French jihadist who returned from Syria, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for criminal association with a terrorist organization.

The 32-year-old Frenchman was not present at the Paris correctional court since he refused to leave the prison where he is being held for the hearing.

Prosecutors had argued that Moreau presented an “extremely dangerous threat” and warned that he risked returning to his “jihadist commitment” once released.

 

A former fisherman from Nantes, Moreau fell into a life of petty crime before he was radicalised in prison and left France to join the ranks of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq. He stayed in the region for nearly a year and a half, according to prosecutors, and even ran a restaurant in the IS group’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria, during the last three months.

At a hearing on December 14, 2016, Moreau warned the court that if he was sentenced to more than 18 months in jail he would “return to armed combat”.

Born in South Korea and adopted by a French family at the age of four, Moreau lived in the western French city of Nantes and fell into delinquency after his adoptive parents divorced. He was sentenced to five years in jail for violent robbery and converted to Islam while in prison.

It was a trajectory of radicalization similar to his younger brother, Flavien Moreau, who became the first French jihadist to be tried upon his return from Syria. In November 2014, Flavien was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Both the brothers were born in South Korea before they were adopted as infants. But Flavien, the younger brother, spent only a few weeks in IS group-held territory since he was unable to cope with the jihadist group’s no-smoking policy. He entered Syria in November 2012, but returned to France weeks later to pick up an electronic cigarette. He was arrested in Turkey on his way back to Syria. Flavien is currently serving a seven-year term.

During his trial, Nicolas Moreau, the older brother, told the court he left the caliphate because he “became aware of the excesses of Daesh. He told judges he wanted to get married and return to normal life. But he also warned judges that: “If you put a heavy penalty on me, it will be harder to reintegrate me [into society]. I will take up arms again.”

Prosecutors however argued that Nicolas Moreau required a 10-year sentence since “he would return to his jihadist commitment” if released.

Joué-lès-Tours, Nantes, Dijon: surge in terrorist threats

Three violent acts in three days have heightened fear surrounding terror attacks in France. There does not appear to be any connection between the three attacks. On December 20 in Joué-lès-Tours a man carrying ISIL’s flag assaulted several police officers in a police station before being apprehended. The following day, a motorist drove through pedestrians and called out “Allah Akbar” in Dijon, causing injuries. On Monday, December 22 another motorist drove through a Christmas market in Nantes, causing one death and nine injuries before critically injuring himself.

Members of government gathered on December 23 in order to discuss measures against terrorist threats. “We must mobilize all security and legal services,” declared prime minster Manuel Valls after the meeting. “We must protect the public, the French. With only a few hours until Christmas, it’s the security services’ mission and we must also protect public agents who are targets of certain terrorist acts.”

According to criminal psychologist Roland Coutanceau, the first attack can be categorized as an act of terrorism because “there is an extremist belief that we can decode in the man’s life.” However, he stated that the second attack in Dijon was committed by a mentally ill person with a history of hospitalizations in psychiatric wards and therefore cannot be definitely described as an act of terror. Coutanceau argues that in the final attack “we see that there’s a criminological logic present in what one calls mass murder but does not necessarily connote a terrorist logic. It could be, but it’s not necessarily the case.”

France’s National Assembly Diversifies

Le Monde – JUNE 19 2012

Mostly “white” until now, France’s National Assembly has diversified
following the legislative elections on June 17^th . Eight deputies of
Maghrebian, Asian and Brasilian origin have been elected. They are all
members of the Socialist party. The Maghrebian members include: Kader
Arif (Haute-Garonne), the former minister of veteran affairs, who
arrived in France at 4 years old with her Algerian-born parents. Malek
Boutih (Essonne), 47 and of Algerian origin, has spent 30 years working
in social and political organizations, including SOS Racisme, where he
was president from 1999-2003. Kheira Bouziane (Côte-d’Or), is a 58
year-old Economics professor born in Oran, Algeria. Chaynesse Khirouni
(Meurthe-et-Moselle) was a micro-finance teacher at the University of
Lorraine before she became involved in politics in 2008. And, Razzy
Hammadi (Seine-Saint-Denis) who was born to an Algerian father and a
Tunisian mother. Hammadi was formally the president of the Socialist
Youth Movement from 2005-2007 and has worked for the public service
since 2008.

Other members of immigrant origins include, from Tchad, Seybah Dagoma
(Paris), 34, a former lawyer who formally worked for Bertrand Delanoë as
person in charge of the social economy. Born in Nantes, she is a
founding member of the think tank, Terra Nova and of the scientific
council of the Jean-Jaures Foundation. Pouria Amirshahi (France
overseas), was born in Iran and came to France when he was five. His
father returned to Iran and he grew up with her mother in a housing
project in the outskirts of Paris. Eduardo Rihan Cypel (Seine-et-Marne)
is 36 years old and was born in Brazil. He’s known for his work fighting
against the immigration policies within Sarkozy’s government.

Lies Hebbadj Placed Under Police Watch in France

News Agencies – September 20, 2010

Lies Hebbadj, the grocer from Nantes who came under fire after his wife was fined for wearing a niqab while driving in April, was placed under police watch for the third time in four months because of an “abuse of confidence.” There was some question about how he paid his legal council. The Minister of the Interior, Brice Hortefeux, has suggested that Hebbadj may lose his French citizenship if he is found guilty of fraud. Hebbadj has claimed he is not a polygamist but that the mothers of his children are his mistresses.

Lies Hebbadj Placed Under Police Watch in France

News Agencies – September 20, 2010

Lies Hebbadj, the grocer from Nantes who came under fire after his wife was fined for wearing a niqab while driving in April, was placed under police watch for the third time in four months because of an “abuse of confidence.” There was some question about how he paid his legal council. The Minister of the Interior, Brice Hortefeux, has suggested that Hebbadj may lose his French citizenship if he is found guilty of fraud. Hebbadj has claimed he is not a polygamist but that the mothers of his children are his mistresses.

Muslim man at centre of French firestorm over polygamy charged with aggravated rape

News Agencies – August 7, 2010

A Muslim Frenchman cited by officials as a reason behind a crackdown on polygamy has been charged with aggravated rape. Lies Hebbadj, who lives in the Nantes region, was charged with aggravated rape based on a complaint from a former companion. The Algerian-born Hebbadj made headlines for purportedly being a polygamist, but because his reported four companions and up to 15 children live under separate roofs investigators could not prove polygamy as defined by law. He was charged in June with fraud for allegedly collecting too much state aid for the women and children.
The case became public last April when his veiled wife was issued a traffic citation for driving with apparel that hinders vision.
French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux referred to Hebbadj before announcing plans to include polygamy and female genital mutilation on a list of practices that could lead to revocation of French citizenship from immigrants. Hortefeux said he would formally submit the plan, which has drawn controversy, by the end of the month.

The Lies Hebbadj Affair in France Could Result in Tougher Anti-Polygamy Laws

Lies Hebbadj, the Muslim businessperson in Nantes who has received a great deal of media attention since his wife was fined with a traffic ticket (see: http://www.euro-islam.info/2010/04/26/french-muslim-denies-polygamy-admits-to-mistresses/), has precipitated a new legal proposal to further criminalize polygamy in France (please see the Senate proposal below). Polygamy has been illegal in France since the 1993 Pasqua law; there are approximately 20, 000 polygamous families in the Republic.

French police fine Muslim driver for wearing burqa

A French Muslim woman has been fined for wearing a full-face veil while driving a car. Police in the western city of Nantes said the veil – which showed only her eyes – restricted her vision and could have caused an accident. The woman’s lawyer says they will appeal against the decision, which he described as a breach of human rights.

After stopping the 31-year-old woman – who has not been named – police asked her to raise her veil to confirm her identity, which she did. They then fined her 22 euros ($2), saying her clothing posed a “safety risk”. Her lawyer, Jean-Michel Pollono, said the woman’s field of vision was not obstructed and added that a veil was no different from a motorcycle helmet in terms of hindrance to vision. “Currently no law forbids the wearing of the niqab.” There is a developing story as to whether her husband is living in France legally and whether he has a polygamous marital arrangement.

More mosques to be built in France

In the next several years, the construction of large mosques will accelerate in France, in Marseille, Strasbourg, Nantes, Paris, Tours, Saint-Denis, Cergy-Pontoise, and other French locations. Le Monde suggests that approximately 200 large mosques will open, leading to the closure of 2000 small prayer rooms around the territory.

At the same time, the Catholic Institute of Paris will graduate their second class of Muslim students destined to be imams familiar with “French secularism.”

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Thousands protest France’s DNA immigration law

Thousands of people protested France’s new DNA law, requiring testing for foreigners wishing to join their families. Organizers estimated 3,000 people attended the Paris march, while police put the figure at closer to 1,500. Smaller rallies were held in Marseille, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nantes, Rennes, and Dijon.