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Frenchman jailed for 10 years for plan to stab sailors

TheToulon naval base
TheToulon naval base wikimedia/cc by Jesfr

A Paris court on Monday sentenced a 27-yearold Frenchman to 10 years in jail for planning to stab sailors in Toulon, the biggest naval base on the Mediterranean.

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The court ruled that Hakim Marnissi must serve a minumum of half his sentence, the longest possible under the law, after finding him guilty of criminal conspiracy with terrorist intent.

He was arrested in 2015 after receiving parcels containing balaclava helmets and a knife with a 10-centimetre blade.

The judges considered there was sufficient evidence to conclude he had a "plan to commit an attack" at the Toulon naval base, home to 70 percent of the French fleet and 20,000 military and civilians personnel.

He aimed to stab sailors and "die as a martyr", they concluded.

During a period of unemployment after a breakup, Marnissi, who worked in fashion, became socially isolated, spending most of his time at home on his computer.

In 2013 he started attending a mosque, where he met Mustafa Mokeddem, who had spent several months in prison for threats against Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly and had bought knives to "butcher" the cartoonists.

An attack on the paper on 7 January 2015 left 11 people dead.

In 2014, at Mokeddem's urging, he tried twice to travel to Syria and, having attracted the intelligence services' attention, was banned from leaving France.

While in detention he told police that Mokeddem, who had settled in Syria, encouraged him to launch an attack in France.

He retracted the statement in court, claiming he had been tricked by the police and denying there was any plot.

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