– SALIM BENGHALEM & 6 JIHADI RECRUITERS ON TRIAL IN PARIS
Seven men, connected and related to the Buttes-Chaumont network of 2008, have gone on trial in Paris, six of them in absentia, on Tuesday 12/01/2015, accused of recruiting fighters for the so-called Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria.
One of the suspects, Salim Benghalem, 35, considered to be the ringleader of the network, is being tried in absentia as he is thought to be in Syria as an officer in the ranks of foreign fighters in the Islamic State (ISIS)
Salim Benghalem has been linked to an extremist cell in Paris which is also believed to be connected with Cherif Kouachi, who along with his brother killed 12 people 5 at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in 01/2015..
Salim Benghalem’s wife, who has left Syria with her children, has told investigators that he said he would only return to France to launch attacks. Salim Benghalem believed bombs were not enough, and that “a series of killings is recommended”.
Salim Benghalem has appeared in Islamic State propaganda material and was reportedly the target of a French airstrike in Raqqa. The US has accused Salim Benghalem of carrying out executions for the group.
Salim Benghalem, according to his friends, spent his formative years drifting from one job to another: supermarket cashier, electrician and supervisor in a dining hall.
Salim Benghalem’s life seems to have taken a turn back in 2001, when he fled France for Algeria, from where his family originates, after being accused of murder and attempted murder in connection with a gangland fight. He remained in contact with his family before finally returning to France in 2002, when he was arrested.
After five years in custody, he was sentenced to 11 years in prison 2007. But Salim Benghalem was preliminarily released and then officially freed in 2010 thanks to his “good behaviour” and “repentance”, said his then lawyer Leon Lef Forster. Forster told AFP that he was “stunned” by what Benghalem had become.
His family acknowledged back in 2014 that he had travelled to Syria to pursue “an ideal of justice”, but said that he was “definitely not an executioner”.
Salim Benghalem is reported to have fought for the Al-Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra before joining I.S.I.S.
Five of the other suspects on trial are also accused of having gone to Syria to fight, with only one remaining in France.
US-based terrorism research centre TRAC claimed in a post, on Monday 01/25/2016, that Frenchman Salim Benghalem could be the real ringleader behind the Paris Carnage of 11/13/2015.
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