The Special Assize Court of Paris was once again more lenient than the prosecutor's office. Ruling on appeal, it confirmed Friday the judgment of first instance which sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment, with a two-thirds period of safety, the "repentant" Kevin Guiavarch, French pioneer of jihadism.
His wife Salma O., who appeared free, was sentenced to 6 years in prison, also as in the first instance, which she will be able to perform at home under electronic bracelet because of her "reintegration efforts". His sentence is accompanied by a socio-judicial follow-up measure of 5 years. These sentences, upheld by the Court of Appeal, were deemed insufficient by the National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor's Office (PNAT), which had appealed to review their duration.
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During his closing arguments on Friday, the attorney general had requested 18 years of imprisonment with a two-thirds safety period against Kevin Guiavarch (as in the trial at first instance) and 12 years of imprisonment against his wife (against 14 years during the trial of first instance) with a socio-judicial follow-up of five years.
"The guilt of the accused is no longer in debate today," recalled the attorney general. "Society needs time" to "trust" the accused, he said before conceding that the two accused were not among the "elite soldiers" of the Islamic State organization and had not participated in abuses attributed to the jihadist organization.
Kevin Guiavarch is "neither a fanatic nor an enlightened", acknowledged the attorney general but, he insisted, "it is the sentence that marks the seriousness of the facts committed". "We must not minimize" the role of Salma O., he also stressed while praising the "links" she has been able to renew with her children (born during the couple's stay in Syria) and her "resumption of activity" professional. "Give me back the chance you gave me by allowing me to return to a job and my job as a mother," Salma O. asked the court before she retired to deliberate.
In delivering its verdict, the Special Assize Court of Appeal praised Salma O.'s efforts to reintegrate into society. Kevin Guiavarch, 30, and Salma O., 41, were among the first French to reach Syria in early 2013 even before the official birth of the Islamic State (IS) organization.