The appeal trial of French jihadist Tyler Vilus, a figure of francophone jihadism, ended in Paris on Tuesday, September 21, before the special assize court. This cadre of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria was sentenced to life imprisonment, against thirty years at first instance, for crimes committed between 2013 and 2015 in Syria with ISIS.
The court attached this sentence to a security period of twenty-two years, considering that, the accused denying part of the facts with which he was accused, “The risk of repetition remains major”. The court notably found him guilty of having participated in the spring of 2015 in the main street of Al-Chaddadeh, in eastern Syria, in the public execution of two prisoners, blindfolded and orange jumpsuits. A killing filmed and broadcast in an ISIS propaganda video.
Standing in the glass box, the accused listened to the verdict with his head down in a room occupied by an impressive deployment of heavily equipped gendarmes. Part fighter, squad leader, online proselyte, recruiter and ISIS police member, this “Integral jihadist” 31-year-old was arrested at Istanbul airport in the summer of 2015 on his return to carry out an attack.
During the eight days of hearings on the Île de la Cité, the special assize court immersed itself in the Syrian hell, between fratricidal struggles opposing the various jihadist factions, carnage of rare cruelty and ghosts of ‘perpetrators of attacks in Europe.
Against Tyler Vilus, the general prosecutor’s office had requested this heavy sentence. For two and a half years, in the chaos of war in this country, “Vilus worked zealously for a totalitarian state founded on the reign of terror”, estimated the general counsel, Naïma Rudloff. “I remind you of the last words of Tyler Vilus to Abaaoud [le coordinateur du 13-Novembre] : “When I go out, I act.” I have only one message to the court: above all not to let him go out or as late as possible ”, said the general counsel.
Described as a narcissistic and cunning “major criminal”
In her one-and-a-half-hour indictment, she portrayed the jihadist in “Serious criminal” Narcissistic and cunning, driven by an overwhelming attraction to violence. Just converted to Islam in 2011, Tyler Vilus left to learn jihadism in post-revolution Tunisia before throwing himself into the Syrian conflict the following year.
During his questioning on appeal, he said that he had now taken “Recoil” on his rigorous Islam at the time and tried to downplay his role in ISIS. Responding to his denials, the prosecution felt that it was indeed part of the ultraviolent “Immigrant brigade” ISIS, which carried out massacres in the Aleppo region in early 2014 and in which several of the future protagonists of the attacks of November 13, 2015 in Paris appear in particular.
In their pleadings, the three defense lawyers acknowledged Tyler Vilus’ membership in the jihadist movement but maintained that the charges against him were partly exaggerated. To the point of giving the feeling that the young man “Almost single-handedly managed the Islamic State!” “Gabrielle Milon was surprised.
His lawyers had asked the Assize Court to acquit him of the charge of organized murder, which arises from the video of the execution in the middle of the street of the two prisoners, blindfolded and orange jumpsuits. “Is Tyler Vilus holding the speaker?” No. Is Tyler Vilus one of the executioners? No. Is Tyler Vilus part of the security service? No “, defended Louis-Romain Riché, highlighting the“Passive attitude” of his client in the pictures.