At the November 13 trial, the confused story of an overly “helpful” jihadist

At the November 13 trial, the confused story of an overly “helpful” jihadist
At the November 13 trial, the confused story of an overly “helpful” jihadist

By with AFP
Published on 01/14/2022 at 7:50 p.m.
Updated on 01/14/2022 at 8:29 p.m.

The interrogations of the defendants continue before the special assize court of Paris

Suspected of having been mandated by Daesh to take part in the attacks of November 13, the Algerian Adel Haddadi delivered a confused speech on Friday before the special assize court in Paris explaining that he had never intended to become a suicide bomber. while acknowledging never to have disobeyed its sponsors.

“How do you explain that you were chosen for a mission of capital importance for the Islamic State”, asks President Jean-Louis Périès to the accused who, since the beginning of his interrogation, describes himself like a little fish lost in Daesh. The executives had “understood that I was not capable of saying no. I was a helpful person, ”replies Adel Haddadi, through the voice of his interpreter.

“Finally, Périès gets carried away, being helpful and being capable of committing an attack are not quite the same thing”. “I don’t know why they chose me, maybe because I wasn’t known in Europe,” says, head down, the 34-year-old Algerian who speaks Arabic and sometimes French. “I told them I accepted, but in myself I was not for it,” he says. “In Syria, we don’t ask questions. It’s forbidden. I understood it from the start. These are the instructions”.

The migrant route

According to investigators, Adel Haddadi should have participated in the attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis. Arrived in Syria, via Turkey, in February 2015 – to “do humanitarian work” maintains the accused – he admits having carried out military training “but only for a week” and admits having met in Raqqa Oussama Atar, the one of the leaders of the intelligence branch, considered to be the sponsor and orderer of the attacks of November 13.

Alongside Pakistani Muhammad Usman (also in the dock and questioned on Tuesday) and two Iraqi suicide bombers from the Stade de France, Adel Haddidi left Raqqa, the stronghold of Daesh, on October 1, 2015. The four men’s mission is to reach Europe, via the “migrant route” to carry out attacks there.

Armed with “true-false” Syrian passports, Haddadi and Usman will be arrested in Greece and briefly imprisoned. The two Iraqis, on the other hand, will manage to slip through the cracks. Released from their Greek prison at the end of October Haddadi and Usman will resume their journey but will be arrested again in December 2015.

“I was waiting for the right moment”

By resuming the road towards the objective that had been set for you “we can consider that you are continuing the mission”, points out Périès.

” I was stuck. For a month, I was locked up (in Greece) in a cellar, with a ceiling 1m20 high. (The Greek authorities) had told me that if I stayed (in Greece) I was going to go back” to prison, justifies the accused, who maintains that in fact he wanted to go to Austria. “I never thought of continuing to France,” he says. “An Algerian who lived in Austria told me it was a beautiful country”.

The president insists. “Did you talk about the purpose of your trip with Usman? “, he asks. “No, never,” replies the accused. “I said to myself: I will go to Europe and then I will withdraw from all this”. “I was waiting for the right moment to get out of this… I was looking for other solutions but I couldn’t find any,” repeats the accused.

“You could have fled, even without papers… Some migrants manage very well on their own,” quips the president.

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