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French Militant Gets 28 Years for Prison Attack

French Militant Gets 28 Years for Prison Attack

Friday, 22 November, 2019 - 19:30
A French prison warder guards the corridors of a jail in southwestern France, September 5, 2008. REGIS DUVIGNAU/REUTERS

A Paris court on Friday sentenced a jailed radical to 28 years in prison for the attempted murder of two jail wardens in September 2016, the first militant attack in a French prison.

Bilal Taghi was serving a five-year sentence for attempting to travel to Syria when he stabbed two prison guards at Osny prison northwest of Paris using the hinge of his cell window, which he had sharpened, Agence France Presse reported.

He also etched the symbol of ISIS on a metal door and drew a heart on a window with the blood of his victims, it said.

After the attack the 27-year-old said he had wanted to kill a representative of the French state on behalf of ISIS and would do so again if given the chance.

He boasted about hoodwinking his jailors into believing he was someone "who could be reintegrated into society" by "being chatty."

During his trial however he appeared contrite, apologizing for his actions and vowing that he had renounced extremism.

The prosecution dismissed his expressions of regret, describing him as a compulsive liar who was "irrevocably committed to radical ideology."

His attack, which took place in a prison wing dedicated to combatting extremism, led to a review of the way in which radicalized prisoners are managed, AFP said.

Osny prison was one of four in France that had been chosen to trial dedicated counter-extremism wings after several militant attacks whose perpetrators had become radicalized in prison.

The inmates in the anti-radicalization wings were held separately from other prisoners, a fact that Taghi himself described as counter-productive.

"You bring together people who think the same way and tell them to all change. It doesn't work," he told the court.

After his attack, the authorities put in place a new program whereby convicted militants and prisoners suspected of having becoming radicalized undergo four months of screening.

Those who still harbor radical thoughts are placed in anti-radicalization programs while those considered very dangerous are placed in isolation units.

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