France mulls revoking jihadist's citizenship

France mulls revoking jihadist's citizenship

Monday, January 12, 2015 9:53 pm

Less than a week after bloody terror attacks left 17 people dead, France’s top legal body will review a decree stripping a convicted terror operative of his naturalised French citizenship.

France’s Constitutional Council on Tuesday begins examining the case of Ahmed Sahnouni, a Moroccan naturalised by France in 2003, and who was convicted to a seven-year prison term in March 2013 for activities in a terror organisation.

Born in Casablanca in 1970, Sahnouni was convicted in 2013 of having overseen recruitment networks of aspiring jihadists to Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and the Sahel region of North Africa, raising funds for them and overseeing the operational coordination of volunteers once on the ground.

Citing an article in French law allowing the stripping of naturalised citizenship of people subsequently convicted of terror crimes, French authorities issued Sahnouni’s revocation decree on May 28, 2013 — only the eighth time the step has been taken since 1973.

Sahnouni’s lawyer, Nurettin Meseci, has challenged the constitutionality of the repeal and says its real purpose is to permit Sahnouni’s extradition to Morocco, where he’s likely to be convicted anew on the same charges.

French law bars the extradition of nationals to foreign countries.

Sahnouni was subject of a 2010 arrest warrant issued by Morocco after authorities there implicated him in “a network of 24 members linked to Al-Qaeda.”

In May of that year, French intelligence services arrested Sahnouni in his suburban Paris apartment, where they found computers used for recruitment purposes, radical Islamist literature, and photos of him in various jihadist combat zones.

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