• France's news in English
 

French translator held for 'provoking terrorism'

Published: 20 Sep 2013 08:39 GMT+02:00

France has arrested the webmaster of a jihadist site on charges of "provoking" terrorism, prosecutors said on Thursday just as the government warned hundreds of homegrown Islamist militants were signing up for Syria.

The 26-year-old, identified as Romain, was detained Tuesday for his role as administrator of the Ansar al Haqq website, a "reference" for the radical Islamist movement, and as a translator of magazines put out by militant group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Paris prosecutors said.

Detained by intelligence officers in his native Calvados region of northern France, Romain said he converted to Islam when he was 20, prosecutors said.

The Ansar al Haqq website that he manages "has more than 4,000 members including 685 that are active" and Romain published statements from Al-Qaeda's north African branch AQIM on it, they added.

They said an investigation also found that the suspect had "an active role in the translation into French and the distribution of the tenth and 11th editions of the magazine Inspire."

Inspire is an English-language propaganda magazine published by AQAP that offers theological support and praise for jihadists.

The arrest is the first time since a law was introduced in December 2012, following the murder spree of self-proclaimed Al-Qaeda follower Mohammed Merah in Toulouse, that France has charged a suspect on the grounds of condoning and provoking terrorism.

The offense is punishable by five years in prison and €45,000 fine.

The prosecutor in Normandy said on Thursday there was “an urgent need to fight against online jihad that tries to persuade people to join the holy war.”

The announcement comes as French Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned that more than 300 nationals or residents were either fighting in Syria's devastating civil war, planning to go or had recently returned from there.

Most of them were young men, often with a delinquent past, who had become radicalized, he said.

"This is a phenomenon which worries me because they represent a potential danger when they return to our soil," Valls said. "We have to be extremely attentive."

Don't want to miss a story about France? - Then join The Local France on Facebook and Twitter

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Calais migrants' crisis
Migrants disrupt Channel Tunnel traffic in Calais
Migrants climbing into the back of a lorry in Calais, northern France. Photo: Philippe Huguen / AFP

Migrants disrupt Channel Tunnel traffic in Calais

Traffic along the Channel Tunnel connecting Britain and France was disrupted late Friday night when dozens of migrants attempted to enter restricted areas of the tunnel in Calais, officials said. READ  

VIDEO
Paris opens parks 24h a day so locals can cool off
Photo: AFP

Paris opens parks 24h a day so locals can cool off

Authorities in Paris are to open parks at night to allow the the capital's residents to cool off, while one MP has proposed a new law allowing workers to go home when the mercury hits 35C. READ  

Guestblog - "J'aime McDo"
Why do the French love McDonald's so much?
Why do the French love McDonald's? Photo: AFP

Why do the French love McDonald's so much?

In the country that invented haute cuisine – Janine Marsh, editor of The Good Life France, asks "Just why are the French so-Mcdo-pro?" READ  

Uber suspends UberPop service in France
Taxi drivers called for an end to UberPop and they've got what they wanted, for now at least. Photo: AFP

Uber suspends UberPop service in France

Uber announced on Friday that it will be suspending its UberPop in France a week after the government and taxi drivers declared war on the controversial service. READ  

Travel warnings as France heads on holiday
Being stuck in a car or a train will not be pleasant this weekend. Photo: AFP

Travel warnings as France heads on holiday

It promises to be a hot weekend on roads around France and not just because of the heatwave. With the summer holidays about to start, warnings have been issued to motorists. READ  

Tour de France to take place amid tight security
Photo: AFP

Tour de France to take place amid tight security

The Tour de France, the world's most famous bike race gets underway on Saturday with French authorities promising security will be their top priority with the country on heightened terror alert. READ  

US orders a million donuts from France
A box of donuts, one million of which will be on there way from France to the US.

US orders a million donuts from France

Imagine a French customer putting an order in with a US firm to send one million croissants over the Atlantic. Well, the opposite happened this week. READ  

IN PICTURES
Angry French farmers send out distress call

Angry French farmers send out distress call

Tyres were set on fire, roads were blocked and manure dumped outside supermarkets on Thursday as thousands of struggling French farmers, angry at low prices, staged protests across the country. READ  

Paris steps up campaign to keep McDonald's out

Paris steps up campaign to keep McDonald's out

Paris Town Hall sent a clear message to McDonald’s this week, telling the US fast food giant, it would do “everything possible” to stop it opening a new giant outlet in an historic area of the capital. READ  

Calais migrants' crisis
UK to aid French efforts to stem flow of migrants
Riot police push migrants away from trucks on the outskirts of Calais. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

UK to aid French efforts to stem flow of migrants

Britain agreed on Thursday to stump up extra funding to help deal with the worsening migrants crisis around the Channel port of Calais. A campaign will also be launched to try to convince them that Britain is no el dorado. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
GPS helps blind French hikers cross mountains
National
Dreading the heatwave in France? Here's how to survive the sun
National
Brits might have the brighter economy but are the French happier?
Ryanair or French air traffic controllers: Who would you support?
How life will change in France as of July 1st
These are best places in Paris to escape the heatwave
Ten beaches in France where you'd love to be during the heatwave
Calais chaos: Travellers left to curse 'striking French'
Society
Why the French are right to strike (but perhaps not burn tracks)
Why France doesn't have much to lose from a Grexit
National
Frenchwoman dies as bungee jump ends in tragedy
Travel
The most beautiful French villages you've never heard of
National
Can we really feel any sympathy for French taxi drivers?
Feigned French shock over US spying is not fooling anyone
Gallery
When Franco-American relations turn sour - Ten transatlantic scraps
Sport
Dozens fall violently ill after 'mud race' in France
How a genetically modified 'jellyfish-lamb' ended being eaten in France
Culture
Ten must-visit movie scene locations in Paris
National
Paris to return historic squares to the people
Forget Nutella here's eight things the French should really give up
Sport
What the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris would look like
It's time to lay off the French - They are not that rude
National
Just look at what France has given the United States over the years
Health
France's creaking health service must change if it wants to stay world's best
National
French warn UK: 'Brexit could be your Waterloo'
Europe commemorates 200 years since Waterloo
National
Waterloo: What you need to know about Napoleon
French told stop eating Nutella to save planet
Is it time for France's empty churches to be turned into mosques?
French people told to stop scoffing Nutella in order to save planet
Society
French school teacher shows his pupils porn film
National
IN PICTURES: See the blaze that ravaged a French basilica
Video: Tourists shocked by Calais migrants scramble
The French words the English language needs to steal right now
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Travel
13 ways France aims to become more welcoming to tourists
Education
Expat parents protest changes to admissions for Paris bilingual schools
Education
Test yourself: Just how good is your French grammar?
Travel
France to spend 'hundreds of millions' on tourism
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,588
jobs available