The jihadist network on the French island of La Réunion


For a long time French overseas territories have been spared armed jihadism and the phenomenon of young people heading off for the war zones of Syria and Iraq. But the recent trial in Paris of a young man from La Réunion in the Indian Ocean for a conspiracy to carry out a terrorist act has changed that. The conviction of Naïl Varatchia also challenges the widely-perceived idea that the Muslim community on the island is an example of tolerance. Julien Sartre reports.

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A young man called Naïl Varatchia was recently sentenced to seven years in prison for “criminal conspiracy to commit a terrorist act”. The court ruled he had to serve two thirds of his sentence and he was remanded in custody pending the start of his formal jail term. It was a routine day for the 16th chamber of the criminal court in Paris, which specialises in both small and large terrorism-related cases.