A suspected Islamic State group commander has been sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison for running a network recruiting European extremist fighters.

The court sentenced six others on Thursday to terms of six to nine years in prison for participating in a group preparing acts of terrorism. Salim Benghalem is believed to be in Syria. The others returned to France after stays in Syria ranging from a few days to 18 months.

Benghalem, who is also wanted by the U.S., went on trial despite his absence from the courtroom. His wife, who left Syria with their children, had told investigators he would return to France only to carry out attacks — not stand trial.