A mother has demanded £80,000 pounds ($123,000) in compensation because French police failed to stop her son going to Syria to fight for IS [Daesh].
The court case at the Paris Administrative Court will be studied closely by the authorities in Britain, who have also been criticised for not preventing youngsters joining terrorist armies.
In France a 16-year-old schoolboy, identified only as ‘B’ because of his age, headed off from the Riviera city of Nice with three friends.
All said they wanted to join Islamic State (IS), the sadistic Jihad group which now controls vast swathes of Syria and Iraq.
The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is furious that police did not do more to stop her boy, who left home on December 27, 2013, and has not been seen since.
He was a recent convert to Islam, and took a plane to Turkey before continuing by land to Syria. Family lawyer Samia Maktouf yesterday accused French police of making a ‘massive error’ and said they should have stopped an ‘unaccompanied minor with no luggage who had a one-way ticket to Turkey’.
The teenager made the land journey to Syria from Turkey, and has telephoned his mother since with news of his exploits.
Ms Maktouf said the family was seeking the sum equivalent to £80,000 ($123,000) from the French government, as adequate compensation for the damage caused.
The lawyer added: ‘It’s not the money that we are interested in, but we want it known that an error was made. The departure of minors for Jihad must stop.’
But lawyers for the Interior Ministry in Paris said the case was flawed because it had no responsibility for the teenager whatsoever.
The boy was not under criminal investigation, and there was no legal basis upon which to prevent his departure. They pointed out that the mother only reported that ‘B’ had gone missing 24 hours after his disappearance.
Around 500 French nationals are thought to have made the journey to Syria to join IS, including a number of minors. Britain is dealing with similar figures, as the government does all it can to prevent would-be killers with UK passports leaving for one of the most dangerous parts of the world.
Nine Britons - including the son of a Labour councillor - were arrested in Turkey in April on suspicion of trying to cross the border into war-torn Syria.
Teenage girls Shamima Begum, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana are still believed to be in Syria after flying to Turkey in February, with their parents blaming the British authorities for making it easy for them to go.
The case continues.
By Peter Allen
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.