"To open Tyler Vilus' case file is like opening a phone directory containing all the names of Francophone jihadists. He knew almost all of them. Most of them are already dead, and he is in the defendant's dock, this is an exceptional case", prosecutor Guillaume Michelin said in court, as quoted by the newspaper Le Parisien.
Prosecutors, pushing for a life sentence, also argued that Vilus was preparing to launch terrorist attacks in Europe. The court on Friday evening eventually sentenced the extremist to 30 years' incarceration, two thirds of which will be spent in a high-security facility.
"By not choosing a life sentence, the court decided to leave you a glimmer of hope for you to evolve", Chief Judge Laurent Raviot told the defendant.
Vilus was arrested in 2015 while boarding a flight to Prague from Istanbul and has been detained ever since. According to Le Parisien, he arrived in Syria in 2012 and quickly became a leader among the organisation's Franco-Belgian militants. In 2015, Vilus reportedly participated in the execution of two soldiers of the Free Syrian Army. A video of the execution was shown to the jury, with prosecutors arguing that Vilus was clearly identifiable.
*Daesh, also known as IS/ Islamic State/ ISIS/ ISIL, is a terrorist group, banned in Russia