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The lawyers of Abdellah Chouaa and Mohammed Amri had the floor on Tuesday. The challenge for the former was to avoid a return to prison for their client, for the latter to allow him to leave. Against them, the national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office requested 6 and 8 years in prison respectively. Record of hearing.
” I would like to talk to you about a free man, an innocent man who can lose everything. I am going to tell you about Abdellah Chouaa », Begins Me Gwenaël Poirier. ” He has the most to lose, because he is the one who has carried out the least preventive detention. If the Court follows the requisitions of the prosecution, he will indeed return to prison for several years.
Me Adrien Sorrentino quickly takes over, is indignant that the public prosecutor has been able to qualify Abdellah Chouaa as a liar. “ I pledge my conviction as a lawyer, my probity : Abdellah Chouaa does not lie. He is naive, he is afraid, he is sometimes stupid in his answers. But he doesn’t lie “, he asserts while his client has sometimes provided unconvincing explanations to the Court.
It describes a man hospitalized the weekend before his first major interrogation, seized with a panic attack, who disobeys the advice of his lawyer for fear of not appearing cooperative enough. “ So he tries to provide explanations, he formulates hypotheses when with all the honesty in the world, he could have said “I do not know anymore”. And the more he tries to help you, the more suspicious he is. Above all, Abdellah Chouaa is criticized for his closeness to Mohamed Abrini and for having driven him to the airport in particular when he was traveling to Syria. Could he ignore it? “ He has always seen Mohamed Abrini, smoking, drinking, playing poker, doing stupid things, on the arms of women. He didn’t see because we didn’t want him to see. »
He holds out a photo of Mohamed Abrini, mockingly, in a fairground pass, a photo that is not in the file. “ I understand that the investigators did not want to show Abrini as Mr. Chouaa saw him in 2015: a puppet in a carnival “says Mr. Sorrentino.
He recalls that Abdellah Chouaa, several months earlier, had denounced his brother to the police, fearing that he had gone to Syria. When he realizes that Mohamed Abrini lied to him, that he may not be on vacation in Turkey, but that he too could have gone to Syria, he denounces him in turn. It is on this basis that Mohamed Abrini is questioned on his return to Brussels.
The Belgian police are content at the time to place his home under surveillance. ” We would like to condemn a man who denounced terrorism twice, who could have allowed as early as October 2015, before the attacks, to go back to the terrorist cell. “, shouts the lawyer before concluding: “ Ten months of hearing and not a day without me finding new proof of his innocence. Ten months of trial where he cried with the victims, where he went to meditate with some at the Bataclan and on the bereaved terraces. Ten months of communion and we would like to condemn him ? It would be incomprehensible. »
The lawyers of Mohammad Amri then take the helm. He is particularly accused of helping the Abdeslam brothers to hire the vehicles that will be used to transport the terrorists. Could he ignore their radicalization? Me Negar Haeri is working to defuse this first point. She takes up the definition of radicalization that he himself gave to the bar: “ Radicalized people don’t go to cafes, don’t drink alcohol, and don’t hang out with girls. Now, the Abdeslam brothers did all that.
For her, Mohamed Amri is like Monsieur Jourdain by Molière: “ He makes a syllogism without knowing it “. Because he is not the only one to be fooled by this false contradiction: the Belgian investigators who question Brahim Abdeslam on his return from Syria come to the same conclusion as him: he is not radicalized.
“ No one disputes the ambivalence of Brahim Abdeslam anymore “, continues the lawyer. ” The question is whether Mohammed Amri was able to break through this ambivalence. No, she replies. She continues her reasoning by the absurd: If the Abdeslam brothers had finally decided not to use these cars, would Mohammed Amri still be in the box? ? »
” Of love and humanity »
Me Xavier Nogueras takes over and paints an unflattering portrait of his client, but which, in his defense, has the merit of presenting him as a useful idiot of the Abdeslam brothers rather than as a collaborator aware of the issues: ” Mohamed Amri, who loves his car to the point of sleeping in it, who smokes spliffs, likes Jul, Jason Statham. We have the right to tell you that there is a fracture without using sociological blackmail. Finally, he comes to the heart of what his client is accused of: having gone to Paris to look for Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the terrorist commandos, to bring him back to Brussels the night of the attacks.
” There is in this closed cabin, a deleterious atmosphere. You don’t have to have an explosive vest or a gun pointed at your head to be scared. », argues the lawyer. “ This very bad trip that he had absolutely not anticipated can only end in arrest or death. “, he says again to justify the state of amazement” who comes to paralyze him and that the prosecution had mocked in its indictment.
Me Sorrentino had paraphrased in the opening of his pleading the sermon on the mount of Jesus, playing on the formula: “ happy the simple-minded “. Me Nogueras summons him in turn with a rereading as modern as it is personal “ He said that we had to give each other love, not Kalashnikov bullets, not hatred: love and humanity. And it is in the name of this humanity that he calls for the acquittal of Mohammed Amri. Like all the others, it will be set on June 29.
►Also read: Trial of the November 13 attacks: the floor is up to the prosecution