France sends wannabe jihadists to prison

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France sends wannabe jihadists to prison
France has arrested dozens of people for condoning terrorism since last week's attacks in Paris.

A Paris court has sentenced three French youths to prison for having attempted to make their way to Yemen and Somalia in 2012 to fight alongside Islamist extremists. It was the first trial of its kind since France last week was hit by a string of deadly terrorist attacks.


Le Parisien said the three men, who were not named, were ordered to serve between four to 10 years in prison.

The ruling comes as France has vowed to crack down on racism, hate speech and those glorifying terrorism – including on Twitter - following the bloody attacks that left 17 people dead.

In a message sent out to the country’s prosecutors and judges on Wednesday, France’s Justice Ministry specified the legal basis for arresting people defending or condoning the Paris terror attacks, or supporting racism or anti-Semitism.

But the arrests had already started, and by Wednesday afternoon, the ministry said 54 people had been detained, including a 15-year-old girl who referred to the Kouachis as “my brothers”.

Militant Islamists Said and Cherif Kouachi killed 12 people when they last week stormed the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Controversial French comedian Dieudonné was one of the people arrested for expressing an “apology for terrorism" after he appeared to sympathise with one of the gunmen in a comment on his Facebook page.

"Tonight, as far as I'm concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly," he wrote -- mixing the popular slogan "Je Suis Charlie" used in homage to the journalists killed at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, with a reference to gunman Amedy Coulibaly.

Coulibaly killed four Jews at a Jewish supermarket on Friday and a policewoman the day before.

On Friday, French daily Le Point reported that Dieudonné had got into hot water again and had been ordered to pay €6,000 for having launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2013 to help him pay off some of his other outstanding fines. According to French law, it is illegal for people who have been convicted of a crime to seek funds among the public to pay off fines.

The comedian made international headlines in 2013 when French footballer Nicolas Anelka was banned for five matches by English football authorities for using a hand-gesture created by Dieudonné that many people consider anti-Semitic.



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