France: Two women sentenced to prison on terror charges

The women had planned to kill 'as many infidels as possible' and desired to 'go to paradise'

A young woman has been found guilty of planning a terrorist attack on French soil in 2016. Her accomplice, another young woman, has been found guilty of planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS).

The Paris Criminal Court sentenced a radicalised young woman – identified only as Janna C. – to seven years in prison on Wednesday. She was arrested in 2016, suspected of planning to carry out an attack in France on behalf of the jihadist group.

Her lawyer, Léa Dordilly, argued that the punishment was too severe.

'We have been given a sentence of seven years in prison, which is extremely severe given the age of this girl, who was 18 when she started these activities online,' Dordilly told FRANCE 24 after the sentencing. 'And it was only for such a short period, two months – July and August, 2016 – during which she was having these conversations on social media.'

On July 12, the prosecutor’s office had requested the maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment for Janna C., who is now 21. She was arrested on August 10, 2016, in a public garden in Clermont-Ferrand after having mentioned plans for an attack in online messages and with her family.

She had searched on the Internet for 'how to make an explosive belt' and also the technique for making TATP, a highly unstable improvised explosive that is prized by jihadists. On Snapchat she had written about her desire to go to paradise, taking 'infidels' with her.

The investigation began after a call for attacks in France by the ISIS French propagandist Rachid Kassim, relayed on a channel of the encrypted social network Telegram.

The investigators had identified Janna C. by tracing her exchanges on the channel.

Another radicalised woman known only as Djelika S., who was closely connected to Janna on the internet and who appeared in court alongside her, was sentenced to six years on Wednesday.

Djelika incriminated herself to police by saying that she and Janna had planned two knife attacks to 'kill as many people as possible'. However, the court found that those statements were made without the presence of a lawyer and were never corroborated by the investigation.

The judges therefore convicted her only for wanting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State.

Author's comment: The sentences were not too severe at all, and it's good to see a modicum of common sense 'pour decourage les autres' when all too often, potential jihadists have been let off with a slap on the wrist.


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