Justice: ‘repentant’ jihadist Kevin Guiavarcha tried along with his four wives

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The crime of the criminal terrorist community is punishable by 30 years in prison, but due to the date of the facts in which the defendants are accused, they face 20 years in prison. Camellia M. faces 10 years in prison.

On Monday, the trial of “repentant” jihadist Kevin Giavarch, who was tried for a terrorist criminal connection along with his wife and three of his wives, began in a special jury in Paris.

Kevin Giavarch, 29, with short hair and a bushy reddish beard, dressed in a red and black lumberjack shirt, shares the dock with Sarah R., 27, one of his ex-wives, who is clearly several months pregnant. An application for temporary release from Sarah R. was due to be considered by the investigating chamber in the afternoon, the chairman of the court, David Hill, said at the opening of the hearing.

“I went to Syria to help the people,” Kevin Giavarch explained after President Hill presented the facts, stressing that he first fought in the Free Syrian Army (FAS) before his group joined ISIS. “Injured” by the death in battle of one of his comrades, he said he never stopped leaving Syria with his family.

Four wives and six children

Coming from a Christian family, Kevin Giavarch converted to Islam at the age of 13. He is said to have become radical when his family moved to Grenoble in 2009. He is an activist in the radical Islamist group Forsane Alizza (Riders of Pride, now disbanded), which advocates armed jihad and wants to establish a caliphate in France.

After his first marriage and the birth of his first child, in April 2012 he married Salma O., who is twelve years his senior and is also an activist for Forsane Alizza. The couple moved to Syria at the end of 2012.

Having settled in the territory controlled by IS, the young man quickly finds himself at the head of a family of four wives, from whom he will have six children. Besides Salma O., Kevin Guiavarch married Parvin L. (born 1994), then Sally D. (born 1990) and finally Sarah R. (1994), all from France and recruited from Syria through a Facebook account.

“Fighter”

According to the prosecution, the jihadist, who became Abu Ayub, was a “combatant” of ISIS. In many frames, he is depicted in combat gear and with military weapons. But a stakeholder disputes this account, claiming to have played a “role-play game” with ISIS and claiming that he considered defecting from its ranks in 2014 but remained “retired” in the area.

After three unsuccessful attempts, on June 6, 2016, Giavarch and his extended family managed to sneak into Turkey on foot. They were quickly arrested, and in October and November 2016 they were handed over to France.

All the other defendants appear to be free, under judicial control. In addition to Kevin Guiavarcha and his four “wives”, a fifth woman, Camelia M., is on trial with them for “funding a terrorist business.” She is accused of seeking to facilitate the departure to Syria of a radicalized minor, originally from Troyes, who was supposed to marry Kevin Giavarch sometime in Syria.

The trial will last until March 25.

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