France Prosecutes 5 Accused of Kidnapping Journalists, Taking Hostages in Syria

The defendants are facing trial for their involvement in an organized terrorist gang, Orient Net reports.

According to judicial sources cited by AFP, five defendants involved in kidnappings, hostage-taking in Syria, and an assault on a Jewish museum in Brussels have been ordered to stand trial by French investigative judges before a special criminal court.

On Wednesday, anti-terrorism judges ordered the trial of the accused, including Mehdi Nemmouche, the perpetrator of the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels. They are charged with kidnapping seven Westerners, including four French journalists, in Syria between 2013 and 2014.

Organized terrorist gang 

According to judicial sources, the defendants are facing trial for their involvement in an organized terrorist gang that detained individuals and carried out acts of torture.

The three defendants in the case are Mehdi Nemmouche, a 38-year-old accused of the 2014 attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Abdelmalek Tanem, a 34-year-old Frenchman who was convicted for heading to Syria in 2012, and Qais al-Abdullah, a 40-year-old Syrian who has been in temporary detention since 2019. The agency stated that the three were suspected of having imprisoned the Western hostages, but Abdelmalek Tanem and Qais al-Abdullah have denied the accusations.

It was also noted that two other suspects, Salim bin Ghalm and Belgian Osama Attar, may have been killed in Syria in 2017. Osama Attar was sentenced in absentia in June 2022 to life imprisonment for planning the November 13, 2015 attacks in Paris. However, the court ordered their trial as there was no official evidence of their deaths.

In June 2013, French journalists Didier François, Edouard Elias, Nicolas Inan, and Pierre Torres were kidnapped and detained along with two humanitarian workers from the NGO ACTED, Italy’s Federico Muttka, and Britain’s David Haines, as well as Spanish journalist Marcos Marguinidas Izquirdo. All of the hostages were released during 2014, with the exception of David Haines, who was executed on September 13th, 2014. His family filed a civil suit in the French court.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.


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