Atar and Haddad Asufi's lawyers ask not to try them by 'substitution' - THECHOWANIECS.COM

Atar and Haddad Asufi’s lawyers ask not to try them by ‘substitution’

The floor is still open to the defense at the trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015. The lawyers of Ali El Haddad Asufi and Yassine Atar spoke on Friday June 17 and Monday June 20. The National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office requested respectively sixteen and nine years in prison against the two men, who deny any involvement in the preparations for the attacks. One is suspected of having searched for weapons, the other is blamed for his satellite presence around the terrorist cell.

From our special correspondent at the Paris courthouse,

The circle of family and friends is the other pillar of the terrorist cell “, had denounced the national anti-terrorism prosecution in its indictments, pointing to the role played specifically by Yassine Atar and Ali El Haddad Asufi. The first is the brother of Ousama Atar, a jihad veteran who passed through Iraq in the early 2000s, before becoming an Islamic State official, considered the mastermind of the attacks in Paris, Saint-Denis and Brussels. . He was also close to his cousins, Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, notorious robbers radicalized in prison, before becoming the coordinators of November 13 and finally blowing himself up in the metro and at Brussels airport in March 2016. Ali El Haddad Asufi had been Ibrahim El Bakraoui’s best friend since high school.

Can a man be judged by substitution? This is essentially the question that their lawyers tried to ask during their pleadings, wondering once again why their clients were tried in Paris and not in Brussels in the so-called “Paris bis” trial, where find themselves many other ” small hands of the cell, whose involvement has not always seemed much less than that of some defendants, but who nevertheless risk much lighter sentences (two to five years in prison were required). Because neither Ali El Haddad Asufi nor Yassine Atar are considered as full members of the terrorist cell, nor even as radicalized.

The public prosecutor accuses them of having demonstrated ” complacency », and to have « close your eyes on the jihadist shift of the Bakraoui brothers. His uncle had presented Yassine Atar at the helm as ” the spiritual son of Bacchus “, frequenting ” the brothels of Tangier with more assiduity than the mosques. The prosecution prefers to see it as the ” spiritual son of Tartuffe “. In his defense, it is essentially to these family ties that he owes his presence in the box, much more than to the objective elements of the file. ” By pleading for the acquittal, for the brother of the one who organized these attacks and recruited the suicide bombers, the cousin of the logisticians, I have the feeling that I am also pursuing the general interest », Begins Me Christian Saint-Palais.

But it is Ali El Haddad Asufi who pays the most in the indictments for his closeness and the undeniable help he gave to his friend Ibrahim El Bakraoui. The prosecution requested against him sixteen years in prison with a two-thirds security period, the most severe sentence requested against an accused who was not part of the terrorist cell. Because he is suspected of having sought to obtain Kalashnikovs on behalf of Ibrahim El Bakraoui. It is Me Jonathan de Taye who is responsible for defusing the cornerstone of the accusation: a trip to Rotterdam. ” A very bad station novel “, denounces the Belgian lawyer, who revels in the criminal record of the man whom Ali el Haddad is suspected of having met, whom the Dutch police had presented “ as an international arms dealer “, a man arrested in September 2014 for… a bike theft. ” I imagine him on his bike, his bag full of Kalashnikovs jokes the lawyer.

He then evokes another track: the son of this man whose locker does contain a violation of the legislation on weapons. ” But he is being prosecuted for possession, not trafficking, of a category 4 weapon. : these are crossbows, ball guns and knives. It’s pixie powder ! ” None of the other protagonists he is suspected of having met in the Netherlands are known for drug trafficking, which allows the lawyer to close this chapter: ” A drug trafficker goes to a country where drugs are sold, to meet drug traffickers. When I hear hoofbeats at my window, I think of a horse and not a zebra, because we are not in the bush. The parquet floor sees zebras everywhere. »

►To re-read: November 13 trial: the defense of Ali El Haddad Asufi requests his acquittal

The most problematic element for the defense of Yassine Atar is the testament message addressed to him by Ibrahim El Bakraoui just before going to blow himself up at Brussels airport. A message that Yassine Atar never received, but which seems to incriminate him since the terrorist thanks his cousin in it “ for all he has done for him “. From there, ” the instruction runs backwards “, continues Me Raphaël Kempf. ” We did not start from a crime to find the perpetrator, we started from a man whom we sought at all costs to link to a crime. And his lawyers list all the charges which have, at one time or another, weighed against their client and which have since been dropped. Like this emblematic key found at his home and which the investigators had discovered opened the hall of the building from one of the terrorists’ caches, before realizing that the lock was of poor quality, and that in the end, almost anyone what key could open it.

Me Martin Méchin, for the defense of Ali El Haddad Asufi, tries in turn to break the lock of the accusation. He goes back at length on what is reproached to his client: the help given to Ibrahim El Bakraoui, whom he accompanies for the first time to the airport when he tries unsuccessfully to go to Syria via Turkey; with whom he flies back a few weeks later to Athens for an equally suspicious trip; to whom, finally, he finds an apartment, a hideout, in September 2015 while El Bakraoui is on the run. ” The prosecution offers you a unique reading key for all the accused: it is the ideological commitment », Asserts Me Martin Mechin. ” Me, I’m not going to offer you a master key, but a key that only serves my client: the offense of concealment by a criminal. “Because according to his defense, Ali El Haddad Asufi was unaware of all of his friend’s disastrous projects, and he above all sought to help the gangster he thought was on the run, and not the terrorist he did not suspect existed.

Me Menya Arab Trigrine believes that he is “ obviously a substitute accused “, since this ” garbage of Ibrahim EL Bakraoui is no longer there “. “He should have known” cannot suffice to convict him for criminal association with terrorism “, Estimates the lawyer, judging that her client had been sacrificed by his best friend and inviting the court not to do the same. ” I ask you to resist the human urge not just to judge, but to avenge “Seriously warns Me Arab Tigrine. Me Raphaël Kempf, who has defended Yassine Atar since his transfer to France, will not say anything else, pointing to the shift that has taken place year after year in terms of anti-terrorism jurisdiction. When the terrorist association of criminals was created, recalls the lawyer, it was necessary to be able to demonstrate the terrorist intention of the author. ” From now on, you are asked to punish the fact of not having seen, when we should have seen the religious commitment. Citizens are asked to replace the intelligence services “, protests the lawyer.

Because what exactly do we blame Yassine Atar for, ask his lawyers? And to replay the scene of one of their greatest victory during the hearings, when they asked a Belgian investigator if they had managed to objectify this help that Yassine Atar would have brought to the terrorist cell. The investigator answered in the negative, to the great displeasure of the Advocates General. Especially since if the silence of certain defendants has been mentioned a lot in this trial, Yassine Atar on the contrary drowned the court in words. “ He is like a child who has been thrown into the water and who does not know how to swim, he struggles not to sink. He struggles with absurd accusations. The first right of defense is to know precisely what you are accused of “, insists Me Kempf.

In this case, if anyone has made evolving statements, it’s the prosecution, it’s the Belgian investigators, it’s the investigating judges », Inserts the lawyer. So why would Ibrahim El Bakraoui thank him a few hours away from dying? Christian Saint-Palais offers a simple explanation: Yassine Atar visited him 135 times when he was in prison between 2010 and 2014. You have to have experienced, even by proxy, what the regular visit of a loved one represents when you are detained to understand what it represents. “, pleads the lawyer. ” At the end of your verdict, you will not go down in history with a capital H, concludes Me Mechin. You will have to judge the story of Ali El Haddad Asufi with a tiny h. And I hope we have lived up to it. »

►Read also: Trial of the November 13 attacks: heavy sentences required against the accused

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