For several months, a lot of trials took place concerning jihadist soldiers going to Syria to fight. Men and women appeared before correctional court for “belonging to a terrorist group”.
What sentence for belonging to a terrorist group ?
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To be judged on this case, two conditions have to be met.
The first one is the presence of a “material element”. The court has to prove that the person participated or helped a terrorist entity. It can take place by selling money or helping a person find equipment, to have made propaganda, driving a friend to the airport in order to let him leave for Syria.
The second condition is the presence of an “intentional element”. It means that the concerned person helped the group knowing that this group had terrorist intent.
These suspects are not sued because of terrorist acts but only because they contributed to doing this act. Some people did not go to Syria, some came back from there but we do not know if they fought or not, or again others who tried to leave for Syria. It is often difficult to find out the existence of such projects.
People having been sued for helping a terrorist group spend 3 months to one year in jail with strict life conditions. Some of them can enjoy a release under certain conditions: not frequenting each other anymore, not consulting jihadist websites, present themselves to the police station each three days… and so on. From this, some of them could have reintegrated a normal life.
Some suspects are taken out of school, with no social life and rejecting all occidental values… But some of them have been to university, with a traditional family, which do not understand such acts from them. This is why the government sets such helps to these radicalized people who can actually be saved.
A participant of a terrorist group considered as a member can be convicted for five years of jail. And a leader of a small entity can be convicted for fifteen years of jail. But the main goal of a judgement is not to punish but more to prevent culprits to reoffend.