French Islamic State mother 'with no capacity for empathy' sentenced to 14 years in prison

French Islamic State mother 'with no capacity for empathy' sentenced to 14 years in prison
The woman left France to join the Islamic State group in Syria in 2014, at the height of the militant group's so-called caliphate.
2 min read
23 November, 2019
She was described by the judges as 'egocentric' [Getty]
A French woman who took her three children to Syria to join the Islamic State group in 2014 was sentenced to 14 years in jail on Friday.

A Paris court convicted Jihane Makhzoumi of charges including terrorism and child abandonment, highlighting her "informed participation in a criminal enterprise" described as "bloodthirsty".

"Only a significant sentence could be imposed under these circumstances," the judges added.

Makhzoumi, 38, left France with her partner Eddy Leroux - another IS member believed to have been killed in Syria - her three young children and a fourth child, the daughter of Leroux.

She was arrested at a Paris airport when she returned along with her three children in 2016 - Leroux's daughter having apparently been left behind in Syria.

The prosecutor had told the court Makhzoumi had a personality of "appalling egocentrism" and had "at no time shown a capacity for empathy".

"This departure to Syria is absolutely not an accident, it is the result of years of radicalisation," said the prosecutor.

"The lives of their own children do not matter that much, in comparison to their project."

Makhzoumi appeared visibly shocked when the verdict was announced and her lawyers labelled the sentence "totally disproportionate" and said they would appeal.

The sentencing comes amid a spate of repatriations of IS members in Europe, many of which have been the result of deportations by Turkey.

Germany's Foreign Ministry said on Friday it would repatriate a German woman and her children from a refugee camp in northeastern Syria.

German authorities had reportedly been investigating the suspect since 2016 on suspicion of belonging to a terror organisation and neglect of her children.

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