It is because he has already been there that he offered his help to the victims of the attacks of November 13, 2015. Michel Catalano is the printer who found himself hostage to the terrorists of January 7, 2015. After their massacre in Charlie Hebdo, the Kouachi brothers hid two days in a forest before ending their run in his company, in Dammartin-en-Goële, on November 9, 2015. Traumatized by his hostage-taking, Michel Catalano was called to testify at the trial of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in September 2020. An extremely difficult moment that will in turn be experienced by the victims of the attacks of November 13, 2015. Michel Catalano explains to Thomas Lequertier’s microphone how he helped them prepare for it .
No legal aspect
“We decided with the French Association of Victims of Terrorism to set up a support group,” says the printer who himself had benefited from this aid on the sidelines of the trial of the January 2015 attacks. of size because testifying represents a real source of anguish for the civil parties. “It’s very, very complicated”, underlines Michel Catalan. “We try to exchange, face-to-face or by video, with groups of ten people. The objective is to make them anticipate this complicated moment a little. These are meetings between victims and victims. So there is no not just the legal aspect in all of this “.
“It is very important to testify for history and for the victims who have left”
How do the members of the Association go about it concretely? “We explain to them what happens in a trial and how they are going to live it. We try to relieve a little of all this pressure that there can be because it is really a trying moment, which I myself have lived, but which is necessary and important “, explains Michel Catalano. The printer has also given itself the mission of convincing those who have not yet succeeded in doing so, to testify. “It is very important for history, for the victims who have left.” 300 civil parties, out of the 1,800 constituted, plan to testify at the bar.
Keep moving forward despite the pain
As trying as this ordeal was, Michel Catalano does not regret for a single second of having spoken during the trial of the January 2015 attacks. “I feel that I have taken an additional step in this progress to continue living, quite simply “, he confides. Aware that he will never again be the sporty, joyful and good-natured man he was before his hostage-taking, Michel Catalano explains that he “gets used to living” with his painful history. “For us, forgetting does not exist”, he concludes.