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Mother: Son's 'I am a bomb' 9/11 top just a joke

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Lawyer Gaelle Genoun (right) leaves Avignon's courthouse on December 19, 2012, with the mother of a three-year old Jihad. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP
11:39 CET+01:00
A mother who sent her three-year-old son Jihad to school wearing a sweater with the words "I am a bomb" on the front, along with his name and 'Born on September 11th' on the back, told a court on Wednesday it was just to "make people laugh".

Prosecutors at a criminal court in Avignon on Wednesday demanded a €1,000 fine be imposed against the 34 year-old mother Bouchra Bagour and a €3,000 penalty against her brother Zeyad for the offence of "glorifying a crime".

The court head how the uncle had bought the top and given it to the mother, who dressed him in it and took him to school on September 25.

Jihad's teacher alerted the authorities and a few days later the town mayor, Thierry Lagneau of the conservative UMP party, asked prosecutors to investigate.

Both of them pleaded their innocence in court, claiming they thought the T-shirt would “make people laugh”.

“For me the text is simply my son’s name and his date of birth,” Bagour said. “It’s a bit different but I thought it would make people laugh.

“My brother gave my son the sweatshirt, I put it on him, and I never thought anything of it.”

For his part, the uncle Zeyad, 29 said: “I had no intention of being provocative or shocking people.

“For me the words ‘I am a bomb’ mean ‘I am beautiful’”.

But his excuse did not hold water with the lawyers for the Mayor of Sorgues.

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“Idiocy is often the best alibi to hide our real intentions,” said Claude Avril. “The most scandalous aspect of this is the manipulation of a three year-year-old to convey the words of terrorism.”

The mother and uncle of the boy, who official records show was born on September 11, 2009 and was given Jihad as his first name, were not known Islamists, prosecutors said.

The court's verdict is due on April 10th.

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