France: At least 6 sentenced to prison for condoning terrorism in fast track trials

Ahram Online , Thursday 15 Jan 2015

At least six convictions have been secured in swift trials in France on charges of "advocating terrorism" or making "terrorist action threats," publicly or over the internet, Le Monde report

French Justice minister Christiane Taubira (Photo: Reuters)

France has invoked for the first time an anti-terrorism law passed in 2014. At least six convictions have been issued since 9 January for "publicly condoning acts of terrorism" after the Charlie Hebdo attack, according to the French newspaper Le Monde.

In fast track trials 'comaparution immédiate', the six convictions were issued in different cities across France, according to Le Monde and L'Express.

Article 421-2-5 of the 2014 law states that public approval of terrorism is punishable by five years' imprisonment and a fine of up to €75,000. The punishment for 'condoning terrorism' messages on the internet is seven years, and a fine of €100,000.

A 34-year-old man was sentenced to four years in prison in Valenciennes (north France) for justifying the attack of the Kouachi brothers on the Charlie Hebdo magazine when he was arrested in a drunken state after a car accident, according to L'Express.

A 22-year-old man was sentenced in Nanterre to one year in prison for advocating terrorism in a video posted on Facebook "in which he makes fun of the police officer shot dead on the sidewalk" in the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

In other convictions, a young man of 21 years was sentenced to 10 months in prison in Toulouse after proclaiming on a tram solidarity with jihadists who killed 17 people last week in Paris. Also, a 42-year old tourist was sentenced to three years of in prison for claiming to be the assistant of Paris attacker Amedy Coulibaly and threatening an attack on the Disneyland Paris hotel.  

Meanwhile, 54 judicial proceedings have been opened for "advocating terrorism" and "terrorist action threats" since the attack on Charlie Hebdo last week, French Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira told AFP late Wednesday.  

A source told AFP that out of 37 "terrorism apology" cases, 17 have been referred to the terrorism prosecutor.   

Over the same period, 15 cases were been opened on discrimination and 10 over attacks"by gunfire or explosion on mosques and Muslim places of worship.

Eleven other procedures were opened for anti-Muslim leafleting, 19 for offenses against security forces, and 14 for cyber attacks, according to the same source.

At least 12 people, mostly journalists, were killed in Paris last week when gunmen opened fire inside the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

The incident sparked worldwide condemnation and sparked debates on freedom of expression.

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