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First French jihadist back from Syria sentenced to 7 years

Flavien Moreau, the first jihadist to be tried in France after returning from Syria, received a seven-year sentence on Thursday.

The 28-year-old acknowledged that he did go to Syria in late 2012 to join an Islamist militant group, but says he stayed for less than two weeks because he wanted to smoke, an act banned by the organization, and never fought. Moreau was arrested in January 2013 when authorities learned he was planning on returning to Syria.

Before leaving for Syria, Moreau converted to Islam while in prison. His attorney, Pierre Darkanian, did not name the militant group Moreau joined, but did say it was not the Islamic State or the al-Nusra Front. He told Reuters that Moreau's punishment was "a purely punitive response."

France believes that at least 1,000 citizens are fighting in Syria with militant groups, the BBC reports, and dozens have been arrested upon their return to France.