Paris terror trial judges urged to rise to the level of the innocent accused

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

According to his lawyers, Ali El Haddad Asufi is before the court only because Belgian police investigators failed to do their job properly. Notably on the question of who supplied the weapons used by the November 2015 terrorist killers.

The penalty for providing arms to a terrorist gang is 20 years in jail. The prosecution has called for Haddad to serve 16. His lawyers on Friday asked for their man to be set free.

Maître Jonathan de Taye launched the defence of Ali El Haddad Asufi by underlining the inconsistencies in the police report. There are many.

"Haddad was a drug dealer. He went to Holland from time to time to buy drugs, meet other dealers. And he is accused of trying to buy guns?"

Why, wondered the defence lawyer, did the police waste time in Rotterdam, refusing to continue their enquiries about arms suppliers in Belgium.

Lots of suspicions, absolutely no proof

Haddad's second counsel, Maître Ménya Arab-Tigrine, began by talking about the "movement from religious belief to crime". Then she attacked the imprecision of the concept of radicalisation. How can you know that a friend whom you visit 40 times in prison has undergone a fundamental change, has become dangerously committed to a murderous cause?

The friend in question was Ibrahim El Bakraoui, since dead in the 2016 Brussels attacks.

There are all sorts of suspicions, the lawyer continued, but absolutely no proof against my client.

He went to Greece with Bakraoui in the summer of 2015? So? Haddad also warned his friend against the personal dangers of getting involved with Islamic State.

"He doesn't deserve 16 years for having failed to see what was going on in the sick brain of Ibrahim El Bakraoui."

'Rise to the level of our client'

Maître Marc Méchin, Haddad's third defender, evoked the complexity of the November 2015 file, with its million pages of evidence, thousands of reports, hundreds of testimonies.

"I have heard it said that the accused are not worthy of this trial... That's nonsense... First of all, because there are no 'accused,' there are individuals.

"Ali El Haddad Asufi is not a terrorist, he is not a jihadist. He's a guy from Brussels, who works at the airport, deals a bit on the side.

"Could it be that this trial is not worthy of the accused?" Because the individual acts of each of the accused have been submerged in the immensity of the evidence.

"Haddad had no idea that his friend was planning a terrorist attack.

"Let the tribunal rise to the level of Ali El Haddad Asufi. Set him free."

The trial continues.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting