France.. 12 years imprisonment for a militant of “Yazidi origin” who fought in Syria

The Public Prosecution had requested a 12-year prison sentence for Artyom Aloyan, noting that the maximum penalty for the charges against him is 30 years in prison.

“The Paris Assize Court has been convinced of the responsibility of Artyom Aloyan in the crime with which he is accused,” Chief Justice David Hale said when reading the verdict.

“It is worth noting the terrorist nature of the Al-Nusra Front organization, which is linked to Al-Qaeda and has carried out extensive terrorist acts, manifested, among other things, by committing atrocities and attacks, especially in the Iraqi-Syrian region,” he added.

The judge stressed that “it is clear from the investigation and discussions that, contrary to what was alleged, Artyom Aloyan left France determined to go to Syria to knowingly join a terrorist group whose criminal activities were widely known.”

The attorney general had requested a “fair punishment” for the accused. “My job is not to ensure that (the accused) takes the maximum penalty, but to defend the public interest,” she said.

Aloyan, who was born in Armenia 33 years ago when it was still part of the Soviet Union, appeared in court on charges of “participation in a criminal network”.

This young man converted to Islam in 2012, which angered his Yazidi family, and he went to Turkey and then to Syria in 2015 without informing his relatives.

During the session, he admitted that he fought in the ranks of the Al-Nusra Front, denying that this organization is a terrorist.

“Al-Nusra is not a terrorist organization. This is a Western view,” he said.

“I do not think that fighting a tyrant is a crime. With Al-Nusra, it was soldiers against soldiers. They did not kill women or children,” he added.

He was arrested in the city of Hatay on the border with Turkey in August 2016 and tried before the Turkish judiciary, which issued a prison sentence of four years and two months against him and then deported to France in February 2019 before serving his full sentence.

He was immediately imprisoned and charged with “participating in a terrorist criminal network to plan to commit one or more crimes against individuals.”

In the indictment, the attorney general noted that we “cannot condone (Alloyan’s) conviction in Turkey.”

“Artyom Aloyan has already spent two and a half years in prison under the Turkish ruling,” she added.

And she continued, “Is it possible that the Turkish ruling will be confused with a possible ruling that will be pronounced today? The answer is no.”

On the other hand, his lawyer defended the principle of “not being prosecuted for the same crime twice,” which prohibits punishing an accused twice for the same crime.

In August 2020, the Paris Court of Appeal issued a decision rejecting the principle of “non-admissibility of trial twice.”

In its decision, the court said that the acts committed in part in France escape the principle of “non-trial for the same offense twice”, explaining that “decisions issued by foreign judicial authorities only have the power of res judicata when they relate to acts committed outside the territory of the Republic.”

Aloyan defended himself, saying, “I am not a criminal, I have never killed anyone, and I have never advocated violence against anyone.”

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