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


Suspected of having been mandated by the Islamic State 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 that he had never disobeyed his sponsors.

Suspected of having been mandated by the Islamic State 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 that he had never disobeyed his 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 as a little fish lost in Daesh. The leaders of the Islamic State had “understood that I was not able to say no. I was a helpful person”, replies Adel Haddadi, through the voice of his interpreter.

To read : Trial of November 13, Abrini denies nothing of the Islamic State

“Finally, Mr. 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”.

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 of the Islamic State group and considered to be the sponsor and orderer of the attacks of November 13.

Alongside the Pakistani Muhammad Usman (also in the dock and who will be questioned on Tuesday) and two Iraqi suicide bombers from the Stade de France, Adel Haddadi left Raqqa, the stronghold of the Islamic State, on October 1, 2015. The four men have the mission to reach Europe, via “the route of migrants” 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, a month after the attacks, in a migrant center in Austria.

“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” of the Islamic State, points out Mr. 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 would was going to go back” to prison, justifies the accused in a gray shirt, his hair cut short and big glasses eating his face. The accused 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.”

– “So you intended to go to Austria?”, wants to be confirmed by the president.

– “Yes that’s it!”

– “It never appears in the file, but hey,” sighs Mr. Périès.

The president insists anyway. “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”, ironically the president.

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