PARIS (Reuters) - A sixty-year-old Frenchman was sentenced to eight years in jail by a Paris court on Friday for taking part in operations by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Northern Mali.
Gilles Le Guen admitted joining the militant group but said he left it after a couple of months.
“At some point I was enthusiastic but quickly pulled back,” he said during his trial.
The father of eight from Brittany was convicted of taking part in AQIM propaganda and training, as well as in an attack on Diabaly in Northern Mali.
The former merchant marine captain, who converted to Islam when he was 30, had appeared in a French television programme in 2012, and was shown with a rifle in hand in the streets of Timbuktu.
“I just wanted to be armed in case my family was threatened,” he told the court.
Reporting by Marine Pennetier; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Andrew Roche