RFI, March 7, 2018. (Archive link)
A French-Tunisian man was jailed for 10 years on Tuesday for going to fight in Syria and kidnapping his 18-month-old daughter to take her with him. The latest figures show that 300 French Islamists have been killed in the Iraq-Syria conflict.
A Paris court found 29-year-old Hamza Mandhouj guilty of criminal conspiracy with terrorist aims and abduction of a minor and ordered that he must serve a minimum of half his sentence.
Denouncing the “appalling blackmail” he exercised on the child’s mother, Meriam Rhaiem, the prosecution described the case as “a marital dispute overlaid by a wish to take part in armed jihad”.
On 14 October, as divorce proceedings were going through, Mandhouj collected his daughter, Aissa, from his parents-in-law and never took her back.
He left for Turkey, going on to Syria in December to join his brother, Mohamed Ali, who was already working with Oumar Diaby, a recruiter for the Al-Nusra Front Islamist group.
Compensation for kidnapping
Mandhouj denied wanting to join a terrorist group but the prosecution claimed he gave logistical support to recruits and encouraged minors to come to Syria.
He was caught when his ex-wife, whom he phoned regularly to try to persuade her to join him, arranged a meeting in a hotel in Turkey near the Syrian border so that he could hand over Assia.
Mandhouj was ordered to pay 60,000 euros in compensation for the abduction….