Trial of the November 13 attacks: 4 defendants refuse to appear at the hearing

Trial of the November 13 attacks: 4 defendants refuse to appear at the hearing
Trial of the November 13 attacks: 4 defendants refuse to appear at the hearing

The paths of five members of the cell at the origin of the attacks of November 13, 2015, in Paris and the Paris region, were detailed Thursday at the videoconference trial by a Belgian police officer, in front of a box snubbed by four of the accused to protest against his absence at the bar.

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• Read also: Salah Abdeslam interviewed in connection with the trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015

• Read also: At the trial of the jihadist attacks of November 13, from the hell of the Bataclan to suicide

French justice continues to try twelve people accused of having participated in the so-called November 13 attacks, led by a commando group claiming to be from the Islamic State (IS) group, and which affected the Stade de France, in the Paris suburbs, before take the direction of the café terraces and the Bataclan performance hall in eastern Paris, leaving 130 people and more than 350 injured.

Identified under the number “446.906.682”, the Belgian investigator evokes Thursday, in a monotonous tone, from Brussels Abdelhamid Abaaoud, Bilal Hadfi, Chakib Akrouh, Mohamed Belkaïd and Najim Laachraoui.

Suspected operational chief of the attacks of November 13, 2015, Abdelhamid Abaaoud died on November 18, 2015 in the police assault on his cache in Saint-Denis, in the Paris suburbs, at the same time as Chakib Akrouh. Both were part of the commandos that attacked the Parisian terraces.

Bilal Hadfi, a 20-year-old Belgian, was one of the three suicide bombers at the Stade de France. Najim Laachraoui, who blew himself up in Brussels in March 2016, is considered one of the fireworks of the attacks. A member of the EI group, he had been a jailer of four French journalists hostage in Syria.

As for Mohamed Belkaïd, killed by the Belgian police in March 2016, he allegedly provided logistical support to the commandos.

In the courtroom during this presentation, the benches of the defendants’ box are, for the first time since the opening of the trial on September 8, partly deserted. Four of the eleven men who appear detained refused to take their seats, including the only surviving member of the commandos Salah Abdeslam.

They “refused to go to the courtroom to protest the absence of the Belgian police,” announces President Jean-Louis Périès at the opening of the hearing.

“Salah Abdeslam played the hearing game. He understood the need to attend and participate. But today, he refuses to extract, because there are things that we can hardly understand, ”explains his lawyer Olivia Ronen.

“If we see that an Austrian investigator travels and comes to testify for more than five hours (Wednesday), it is difficult to understand that a decision of your court allows Belgian investigators to testify anonymously and by videoconference”, she adds.

According to Me Ronen, some of the Belgian police officers – who must testify before the court for about two weeks – spoke only recently, under their name and with their faces uncovered in television reports devoted to his client.

During his testimony, the investigator recounted how, from Syria, Abdelhamid Abaaoud regularly called his friends from Molenbeek, in particular Salah Abdeslam and Mohamed Abrini.

The latter had said in his interrogation, according to the Belgian policeman, that “the only ones who knew of the targets (of the attacks of November 13) were“ Abaaoud and one of those from Bataclan ”.

Of Najim Laachraoui, Abrini had said that he “was not a soldier like the others, he was higher, closer to the direction”, also recalls the investigator.

Bilal Hadfi, whose chubby face appears on the screen of the courtroom, “only began to pray a week before his departure for Syria”, detailed the policeman.

The investigator shows a photo of Bilal Hadfi in Syria posing with a Kalashnikov and specifies: “He called him my baby”.

Throughout his presentation, the investigator did not come out of his notes causing a certain weariness of the lawyers, by answering almost invariably: “I have no other information”.

“Mr. investigator, the principle is that we have all read the file”, a lawyer of civil parties, Me Gérard Chemla, points out. “If you just read the summary to us, your presentation loses a lot of interest.”

 
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