French jihadist sentenced to 14 years in prison for kidnapping child


This trial has not allowed to answer the questions of Ilham Tarbouni, who desperately looking for his girl, Jana, for five years. But it resulted in the conviction of the girl's mother-in-law, Jihane Makhzoumi, who went to Syria in 2014 with her partner and four young children, including Jana.

This Friday, the special Assize Court of Paris sentenced the woman of 38 years to 14 years in prison. She had been on trial since Monday for "criminal terrorist criminal conspiracy", "child abduction" and "minor neglect".

Faced with facts "of particular gravity", "only a significant sentence could be pronounced," said the president.

A call already planned

The professional magistrates followed the submissions of the Advocate General, who had earlier described the accused as a personality of a "frightening egocentrism", having shown "at no time an ability of empathy".

Jihane Makhzoumi appeared visibly shocked at the announcement of the verdict. "We consider the sentence as totally disproportionate, and we will obviously appeal," said these two lawyers, Mr. Clemence Witt, and Mr. Florian Lastelle.

In August 2014, Jihane Makhzoumi left Isère with his companion Eddy Leroux, radicalized like her, and now presumed dead in action in Syria, along with three girls born of their previous unions – then aged 3 to 5 years – and their baby of three weeks. They had joined the jihadist Islamic State (IS) organization in Raqqa.

"The life of their own children does not matter that much"

She was arrested on 10 October 2016 at Roissy airport as she was returning from Syria with her three children, but without her companion's daughter. No one has heard from this girl, Jana, for more than three years.

"This departure in Syria is absolutely not an accident of course, it is the culmination of years of radicalization", hammered the Advocate General, adding: "The life of their own children does not matter not so much, compared to their project (starting in Syria). "

"I do not see any real desire to return before 2016," said the magistrate, who had raised a "shocking" because of the emotion around the disappearance of Jana.

A depressed woman for many years

For the lawyer of the mother of Jana, civil party, Me Samia Maktouf, this sentence was "necessary for an awareness", and for Jihane Makhzoumi "serve as an example to other mothers left with children."

The defense, for its part, lamented the lack of a thorough psychiatric examination for Jihane Makhzoumi. "Our client, in front of you, her eyes glassy (…) because of all the medications she takes. She is ill and goes through an extremely severe depression, "explained Clemence Witt.

According to the defense, this depression was not recent, and dated even before the radicalization of their client in 2011. Mr. Witt had even indicated that his client had developed a "pharmaco-resistance" to conventional anti-depressants and followed today. 'a horse treatment'.

Two more sentences of 30 and 10 years in prison

Its vulnerability, she added, made it "a perfect target for the small band of radicalized neighbors", at the root of the radicalization of Jihane Makhzoumi.

In her last words at court, the accused said, "I deeply regret everything that happened. She also apologized to Jana's family, her ex-husband, and her family for "deeply hurt".

The ex-wife of Eddy Leroux, Zahia Bey, who was at the same time in Syria and was also wanted, was, like him, judged by default by the special Assize Court. Thirty years of imprisonment were pronounced against Eddy Leroux, and 10 years against Zahia Bey.


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