Jonathan Geffroy, the “repentant” Frenchman who swung Daesh in the face of justice

Questioned by the investigating judge, Jonathan Geffroy presented himself as a converted man. “Proof that I told everything I knew about ISIS and implicated my former friends”, the Toulouse jihadist scolded before a judge in January 2018. Arrested in early 2017 by the Free Syrian Army (ASL) when he tried to flee Syria with his wife and two children, he assured that he was “at the disposal of France”. “I want to return to a normal life. I regret having made the choice to go to Syria and join a group that I hate today. I am not a terrorist.”

Jonathan Geffroy, 40, and his wife Latifa, appeared, starting Monday, before the Assize Court which was drafted specifically for “participation in a criminal association with intent to prepare for the crime of assault on a person” and “parental evasion of the law.” obligations which endanger the health, safety, morals or education of their children.” They are accused of going to Syria with their two children in early 2015 to join Daesh. “Initially I wanted to work in civilian life but I did not exclude facts against Bashar al-Assad”, said the investigating judge a close friend of Abdelkader Merah, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for being involved in the attacks carried out by him. brother.

Close to the Red Abdelkader and the clan brothers

Originally from Toulouse, like many other French jihadists who left for Syria or Iraq, Jonathan Geffroy did stay with the terrorist’s brother in 2010 in Egypt. At that time this convert moved to Cairo with the aim of learning Arabic. During his stay, he even hosted Mohammed Merah, who was passing by. If he “condemns his act, terrorist”, Jonathan Geffroy believes it is necessary to “split the act” of the man dubbed the “scooter killer” in two. “He killed civilians and soldiers. For the soldiers, I can understand his thoughts because of the hatred he expresses towards the soldiers. But for civilians, it is incomprehensible,” he told the judge who questioned him.

From Egypt the jihadist and his family reached Syria, via Turkey, in February 2015. If he admits frankly that he “wanted to help the Islamic State group” and is “fighting,” he admits he quickly becomes disillusioned. “Before leaving there, I had seen many videos that idealized the return of the caliphate with the laws of the Koran. But when I got there, I realized that there was nothing to see. »

In May 2015, Jonathan Geffroy joined the katiba (battalion) Anwar Al Awlaqi, belonging to Fabien Clain who works closely with his brother, Jean-Michel, on Daesh propaganda. They are famous for claiming responsibility for the attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis. If they are now presumed dead, they have long been one of the terrorist group’s top French executives. Jonathan Geffroy, who is part of their entourage, keeps several secrets about them during the investigation.

Beliefs about Daesh’s “external operations.”

Jihadist told the judge he got his information from Othman, one of Jean-Michel Clain’s seven children. The teenager – then aged 16 – convinced him that he was “leading external operations” of Daesh and had the job of selecting “combatants” to send them to France to carry out attacks. “I know that future external operations will be carried out by children who grow up in these areas and who, past their teenage years, will be sent to the West, certainly to Europe and France to carry out suicide or other operations there,” he said. .he also reported. The Clain brothers will also plan to launch an “isolated attack on the countryside” campaign to “create terror” in the French countryside.

Jonathan Geffroy also provided the investigating judge with information about the Brussels attacks in 2016. An attack which, he said, was not premeditated. Salah Abdeslam’s arrest “which started it all”. “Othman told me that to avoid everyone being arrested, they directly targeted the airport. The target was a French nuclear power plant. They had planned to drive there and blow up the car. »

Request to return to school

Jonathan Geffroy also provided extensive information on the French jihadists encountered at the scene, giving the judge their names and their function within the terrorist group. He assured him that he would take part in the battle only twice, “without ever firing a single shot”, having spent three weeks at a training camp in West Java. He would later become a “sports trainer” before working with Fabien and Othman Clain, helping them edit propaganda films.

In February 2017, Jonathan Geffroy and his family were taken prisoner by the Free Syrian Army. After being turned over to the French authorities, he assured the examining magistrate that he was prepared to “abandon these Islamic criminals”. “At that time I thought of returning to Morocco to negotiate with France. When I say negotiate, that gives evidence against Islamic State people as proof of good faith, knowing that I am doing the same with the FSA and Turkey’s intelligence services. »

The Jihadist ended his interrogation with surprising optimism about his future. He explained that he needed to “make money to [sa] women and [ses] children” and it was discovered that he had “applied to take over [ses] study of medicine or physiotherapy”. contacted by 20 minuteshis lawyer, Me Audrey Dufau, did not want to speak before the court.

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