Bratislava-based GLOBSEC has examined 22 terror incidents in France since 2012. Alarmingly, nearly 80 percent of the people behind those attacks had been on a terror watchlist, and 97 percent had been on the radar of authorities, according to the firm’s new analysis.
NBC News reported that the figures included Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, career criminals with long records who killed 12 people in January 2015 in the offices of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
The statistics are likely to bolster the longstanding criticism leveled at France and other European countries that authorities are not doing enough to prosecute and imprison those who represent a threat to the country.
“The main issue throughout Europe is the sentencing, which is extremely lenient and also allows for terrorists/jihadists to be freed quite early for ‘good behavior,’” London-based terror expert Olivier Guitta, founder and managing director of the security firm GlobalStrat, explained.
Of 78 people suspected of carrying out the attacks, 49 percent had previous criminal convictions, including 19 percent who were repeat offenders, the report noted.
Cherif Chekatt, killed last month after he opened fire on a Christmas market in Strasbourg, was one of those on the watchlist too.
The report has urged French authorities to deport foreigners who are convicted of terrorism-related offenses, noting that at least 15 percent of those on France’s terror watchlist are foreigners.