Paris attacks accused explain why he has decided to remain silent

Thursday’s session of the terrorist trial in Paris, the 94th day of a legal marathon that is likely to last at least another three months, was overshadowed by the decision of two of the accused. . . Osama Krayem and Sofien Ayari. . . to be quiet. A third , Mohamed Bakkali, has also indicated that he will no longer answer questions.

Every person accused before a French court has the right not to say anything.

In the case of Sofien Ayari, the silence is regrettable. Ayari has already distinguished himself among the prisoners as articulate, coherent and sincerely sympathetic to the of the victims and their families.

He’s worth listening to.

In an earlier session, in February, Ayari testified without detours or false memory loss about his involvement in the .

He enlisted for political, not religious, reasons. He was seriously injured in battle.

Six years later, he is prepared to admit that his actions for the IS terrorist wing may have been misdirected.

Last month, he declared that he wanted to testify because his evidence could help the mother of a victim who particularly touched him during the five weeks of testimony from the families of the Paris victims.

“She reminded me of my own mother,” he said then. “I can not give her back her daughter, but I owe her at least one explanation.” And he continued to answer questions, with clarity and intelligence, for almost six hours.

On Thursday, he had a different point of view.

“Same , same questions… ‘

Sofien Ayari explained her decision to remain silent to her defense lawyer, saying: “I am already serving 20 years after another trial. I risk in this court, and I have other charges to answer in after that.”

The accusations against him are really serious. The 20-year sentence that has already been handed down is for shooting at in Belgium. Ayari risks another 30 years at the end of this Paris trial. And he will then be sentenced to life in prison if he is found guilty of participating in the attacks in 2016.

“I will spend two years defending myself as a madman, accused of the same crime, with the same questions, the same people.

“And all that for 80 years in prison in the end.

“It’s dangerous for people like me to have any hope!”

“Justice is an illusion”

Osama Krayem has no hope. This Swedish citizen has systematically boycotted the Paris trial since November last year, and came out of the detention cells only when the court ordered it, to hear evidence that directly concerns himself.

He refuses to talk.

In a letter to the tribunal in November, he stated that he believed that justice was an illusion and that his fate had already been decided. He believes that any further contribution to the procedure would be a waste of .

On Thursday, he refused the headphones that allow non-French speakers to follow a translated version of the procedure.

A family business?

Thursday’s third witness, Yassine Atar, answered questions. Slowly and with enthusiasm.

When the court president proposed a hypothesis, Atar fired back with his own version of events.

The evidence against him is largely based on associations established from telephone records. Yassine Atar’s personal situation is complicated when it comes to links to known terrorists.

His brother, Oussama Atar, organized the Paris attacks from the heart of the Islamic State in . Atar’s cousins, Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui, died in the terrorist bombings in Brussels in 2016. Two of his co-accused in this trial, Ali El Haddad Asufi and Mohamed Bakkali, were among Atar’s close acquaintances.

None of this makes Yassine Atar guilty of anything.

He is suspected of having helped house some of the Paris attackers in October 2015, an accusation he firmly denies.

The trial continues.

Originally published on RFI

Paris attacks accused explain why he has decided to remain silent


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