INTERVIEW. Patrice Spinosi, Yvan Colonna’s lawyer: “He risks dying for lack of supervision”


“The State does not want to take the risk of bringing these detainees closer to Corsican soil because it would see the recognition of an advantage for them.” according to Patrice Spinosi,
AFP – Pascal Guyot
“The State does not want to take the risk of bringing these detainees closer to Corsican soil because it would see the recognition of an advantage for them.”
Philippe Dobrowolska

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The lawyer for the Corsican detainee reviews the dysfunctions that led to the tragedy that occurred in Arles, discusses the possible legal remedies and talks about the family for which he is also counsel. A family, he says, who needs to know. To understand

The state of health of Yvan Colonna?

Stationary for now. Yvan Colonna is still in a coma. His vital prognosis remains engaged. The situation is extremely serious. And the question that everyone asks, the family as well as the doctors, is whether or not he will be able to come out of this coma.

“There is a dysfunction in the management of the prison status of Yvan Colonna”, do not take off. Who, at this stage of the case, to bring to light the failures of the system and the responsibilities?

Nobody really. The General Inspectorate of Services was seized to investigate the facts that led to this tragedy. However, it has no interest, a fortiori in a file at this sensitive point, that significant dysfunctions of surveillance are pointed out with regard to the situation of Yvan Colonna. It should also be noted that an investigation was opened, announced by the national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office. And that an investigating judge will now, again, investigate the attack on Yvan Colonna. One could hope for an analysis of the failings of the administration, but there is a risk that the investigating judge will focus only on the personality of the aggressor, Franck Elong Abé, and that he will not determine the existence of faults. leading to this tragedy.

On Sunday, the national anti-terrorism prosecutor dissected the eight minutes of a “systematic relentlessness” of which the Corsican detainee was the victim without answering the questions which flowed. How to explain that justice evokes the facts without trying to establish the causes?

That’s the problem. And this is the reason why the declarations of the national anti-terrorist prosecutor seemed to us to be very insufficient. Several questions remain. How did a detainee with a profile as dangerous as that of Franck Elong Abé benefit from an auxiliary status – that is to say an employment contract within the administration – which gave him greater latitude of movement? How were the particularly flagged prisoners Franck Elong Abé and Yvan Colonna able to meet together, without supervision, in a common space? Above all, how can we justify, even though the aggression attests to an incredible relentlessness for eight minutes and that it is entirely filmed, that there is no reaction on the part of the supervisors responsible for controlling the screens? at their disposal precisely to prevent this type of violence between prisoners?

You claim that a merger in Corsica would have saved your client. However, for years, the open fracture between the prison administration and the judges has aborted all the requests filed by the three men of the Erignac commando. Should we see pressure at the highest level?

This file has always been treated in a very political way by the prison administration which refuses, on principle, the reconciliation of the three people condemned for the assassination of the prefect Erignac. This refusal clearly testifies to a concern about their return to the island while the common law of detention imposes incarceration near the families. Especially since the three people we are talking about have completed their security period and are likely to be eligible for conditional release. To do this, their departure from the central houses of Poissy and Arles – high security establishments where they are confronted with other particularly violent prisoners – is essential.

The State must take stock of the situation, and a conditional release process must be initiated. And before that, that these men are closer to be able to prepare their exit.

Did the non-application of the law create the conditions for the assassination attempt perpetrated on March 2 on Yvan Colonna?

It is almost certain that if Yvan Colonna had been brought closer, as we have maintained for more than ten years, he would not currently be between life and death.

The Prime Minister, to whom the last word belongs, stubbornly refuses to lift the status of particular detainee reported to Yvan Colonna, Alain Ferrandi and Pierre Alessandri. Is this the sign of an assumed political decision?

If it is a political decision, it is not assumed since the reasons given for maintaining the DPS status are not related to the political nature of this file.

The reality of this affair is that the State does not want to take the risk of bringing these prisoners together on Corsican soil because it would see in it the recognition of an advantage for them.

Until now, until Yvan Colonna’s attack, the administration has always shied away from it.

Did Emmanuel Macron lack political courage by not intervening in this file?

It must be clearly understood that it is not up to the President of the Republic to take a position on the status of detainees. It is jointly with the administrative and judicial authorities that it is up to the lifting of the DPS status and bringing the detainees closer together. From an administrative point of view, these are the services of the Keeper of the Seals, today represented by the Prime Minister.

From a judicial point of view, it is the sentence enforcement judges who have been seized with requests for conditional release both by Alain Ferrandi and by Pierre Alessandri and who were to be in the months to come by Yvan Colonna. If the administration does not assume its responsibilities, it is to be hoped that the judges, reputed to be independent, will finally be able to order this rapprochement and this release.

This decision is the most coherent legally, in view of their individual profile, after 22 years of imprisonment, and while the minimum period of imprisonment had been limited to 18 years.

To justify the end of inadmissibility opposed to the requests for reconciliation of Yvan Colonna, the State has always claimed that the latter should be imprisoned in a central house in order to be better monitored. In practice, is it the opposite that has happened?

It is very paradoxical and the consequences are terribly dramatic. The surveillance of Yvan Colonna did not prevent him from being subjected to a fatal attack without the slightest intervention by all the agents of the prison administration.

He pays for this lack of supervision by being, to this day, between life and death. In other words, he risks paying with his life for the flaws in a system.

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