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French jihadist’s mother sentenced to prison for financing terrorism

media Nathalie Haddadi (centre), whose radicalised son fought in Syria where he allegedly died as a jihadist, and her lawyer Herve Denis leave the criminal court after the verdict in the trial where she is accused of aiding and financing terrorism. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

A French woman whose jihadist son fought and is thought to have died in Syria was given a two-year jail sentence for financing terrorism on Thursday because she sent him money.

43-year-old Nathalie Haddadi insisted she did not know how her son Belabbas Bounaga spent the money she wired to him.

“I have trouble understanding how they can accuse me of financing terrorism,” Haddadi told reporters before hearing the verdict. “I never sent money to Syria or Turkey.”

Haddadi, a marketing adviser who lives in the eastern French region of Alsace, said she paid for her son to fly to Algeria to be with his father, who is Algerian, in November 2015.

Haddadi, a non-practising Muslim, said she had informed the authorities that her son had been radicalised while in jail for drug offences.

She said she sent her son – who had been barred from leaving France – to Algeria so that his father could “save” him.

Haddadi was also accused of hiding her son's passport from the authorities.

She said she sent him 2,800 euros after he was mugged while travelling in Malaysia.

Prosecutors said he left Malaysia for Syria where he joined the Islamic State group. In August 2016 Haddadi received a phone call informing her of her son's death at age 21.

As the trial began she told reporters she faced a “double grief” of her son's death and the trial.

Haddadi's lawyer Herve Denis said she would appeal the verdict.

The sentence may be eased to house arrest, the court said.

- with AFP

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