• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

French translator held for 'provoking terrorism'

The Local/AFP · 20 Sep 2013, 08:39

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.

Story continues below…

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
What France says will be the impact of Brexit
Photo: Oli Bac/Flickr

The French president and his government have been talking about the impact of Brexit in several areas. Here's what they had to say.

Hollande says Brexit won't change Channel migrant deal
The Calais Jungle. Photo: AFP

President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday that the Brexit vote won't change border agreements between France and Britain.

Frenchman sentenced to jail time for burying dog alive
Photo: Pedro Dinis/Facebook

A man who buried his disabled dog alive, sparking social media fury in France, has been handed a jail sentence.

Le Thought du Jour
Post-Brexit: Could it benefit France to see the UK suffer?
Will Hollande benefit from the mess left behind by Cameron. Photo: AFP

The referendum result may have boosted Marine Le Pen and the growing anti-EU movement in France, but what has happened since may have taken the wind out their sails.

France 'probes new death threats' against Charlie Hebdo

A special French police unit has launched investigations after Charlie Hebdo magazine was subject to new death threats, according to reports in France.

Paris commuters face summer of transport headaches
Photo: AFP

Here are the train lines to avoid this summer if you're in Paris.

What's on in France: Eleven great things to do in July
Check out Provence's Lavender festivals in July. Photo: Ming-Yen Hsu/Flickr

We reckon July is by far the best month to be in France. Here's why.

Brexit
France wants Paris to profit from London's losses
Photo: AFP

Paris must take London's place as Europe's financial powerhouse once Brexit happens, a French minister says.

French foie gras industry warns of Christmas shortages
Photo: AFP

The foie gras industry in France is struggling to digest the consequences of the bird flu scare in its heartland.

Paris to honour Ireland's two sets of 'wonderful' fans
Photo: AFP

Fans of Ireland's "Boys in Green" and Northern Ireland's Green and White Army are to be given a special medal for bringing some joy to Euro 2016.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
New app aims to rid Paris pavements of dog poo
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
No more plastic bags! See what changes in France from July 2016
National
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
And the best football fans of Euro 2016 in France are?
National
Paris has wettest spring in 100 years and it's hitting morale
Police murders remind France of complexity of terror threat
National
IN PICTURES: Labour law protests in Paris turn ugly
National
Double murder just latest jihadist attack on French police and soldiers
2,762
jobs available