France jails teen for naming Wi-Fi network after ISIS
Under its new anti-terrorism law, a French court has awarded a three-month suspended jail sentence to a teenager from Dijon who named his domestic Wi-Fi network as ‘Daesh21’, after the Islamic State group.
Daesh is the Arabic acronym for Islamic State, and “21” in this context represents the number for the Côte d’Or, the French department, or province, where Dijon is located.
The case came to court in the eastern town of Dijon after a neighbour saw the name pop up on a list of available Wi-Fi networks in July and called the police.
The court handed the youth a suspended jail sentence after he turned down an offer of 100 hours of community service.
However, his lawyer Karima Manhouli protested the sentencing, saying: “There was no sympathy for terrorism! There was only the word ‘Daesh21’.”
Noting that he would appeal his client’s criminal conviction, he said: “It was a stupid act by a young man of 18 who can’t explain why he did it.”.
“There was an investigation and searches but nothing was found. There is nothing to suggest [my client] shares this ideology. On the contrary, he strenuously denies it,” Manhouli said.
The lawyer said there had been a spate of similar criminal charges since January 2015 when authorities were instructed to quickly prosecute suspected cases of sympathy for terrorism.
The Wi-Fi network has been subsequently re-named “Roudoudou 21,” the name of a French musician.
Following the Paris attacks, France passed a law in November 2014 that makes it a crime to “directly provoke acts of terrorism or to publicly praise one such act”. If convicted, offenders can be punished by up to five years in prison and a $83,000 fine.