Osama Krayem and Sofien Ayari are suspected of having been the ” dutch commando of the attacks of November 13, 2015, in Paris. Monday June 20 and Wednesday June 22 during the trial of these attacks, their lawyers endeavored to dismantle this accusation.
From our special correspondent at the Paris courthouse,
” If silence is a right, it cannot, it must not benefit them “, had estimated the national anti-terrorism prosecution in its indictment about Osama Krayem and Sofien Ayari. The two men haven’t spoken for months. The first had assert their right to silence barely three months after the start of the hearing, even refusing for a long time to attend. the second had followed suit in March.
This silence is not the only similarity between the two men. Both left in 2014 to swell the ranks of the Islamic State organization in Syria, where they were injured, Osama Krayem and Sofien Ayari left together the following year to reach Germany via the migrant route. Then Brussels in a car driven by Salah Abdeslam. And on the evening of November 13, 2015, it was still together that they took the bus to Amsterdam airport, from the Belgian capital.
This trip earned them to be considered by the public prosecutor as the ” dutch commando of the November 13 attacks. Those who should have carried out an attack at Amsterdam-Schipol airport and who, for some unknown reason, gave up on it. But who by their very presence contributed to numerically reinforce the commandos of Paris and Saint-Denis.
They are also accused of having participated in the making of the explosive vests and of having galvanized the members of the terrorist cell. Prosecuted for ” complicity in murders in an organized gang and in connection with a terrorist enterprise “, the two men were the subject two weeks ago of heavy requisitions: the life imprisonment, with 30 years of security.
Arguments dismantled one by one
So, Monday June 20 and then Wednesday June 22, the defenses of Osama Krayem and Sofien Ayari endeavored to dismantle the prosecution’s arguments point by point. On their participation in the making of explosive vests, first.
For the lawyer by Swedish Osama KrayemMe Margaux Durand-Poincloux, “ nothing proves it “: ” There is nothing to establish that Sofien Ayari witnessed the making of explosive vests and saw weapons “, added the lawyer of the Tunisian, Me Ilyacine Maalaoui, in an often convoluted pleading. Because if his DNA was found on clothes discovered in caches used by the cell, no trace was found on the objects having allowed the manufacture of the vests. ” It is not because there is his DNA on t-shirts or personal property that he participated in the development of terrorist acts “, insisted Me Maalaoui.
On their silence judged guilty, then. ” Mr. Krayem’s silence is far from being opportunistic. It is not a contempt for the court, he is extremely attentive to the accounts of the victims and the indictments “, assured his other lawyer, Me Gisele Stuyck.
In January, he explained in a letter that he chose to remain silent because he had ” lost all hope “. The statement was echoed by Me Stuyck: “ He asked me : “Do you think that the court waited to hear your argument to make their decision?” He wanted to know if there was any hope that he would only be convicted for what he did. Mr. Krayem no longer has any hope of being condemned solely for what he did. »
” There is no interpretation of silence except yours », Launched Me Ilyacine Maalaoui, very offensive against the general attorneys. For the Tunisian’s lawyer, whether he speaks or is silent, his client was the loser every time: ” Because he was silent, Ayari was a despicable being. And when he spoke, he became charismatic, leader of the accused. What a dilemma. »
On the galvanization of the members of the cell, precisely. How could Osama Krayem have galvanized the members of the terrorist cell when the organization of the attacks is done in French and he has ” a total ignorance of this language at the time of his incarceration “, argued Me Durand-Poincloux. For her, the galvanization comes from the coordinators of the attacks, the brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui. ” I’m looking in the arraignment order, I can’t find anything. In the file, I can’t find anything “, confirmed Me Maalaoui about his client.
On the trip to Amsterdam-Schipol airport, finally. Again, according to the lawyers of Osama Krayem and Sofien Ayari, there is nothing to establish that an attack was planned there. No communications, no weapons, no trace of explosives in their luggage which was however searched. ” What is there to materialize this attempt ? Nothing “, summed up Me Ilyacine Maalaoui. In addition to this lack of material evidence, it is difficult for Me Durand-Poincloux to imagine that an attack was planned at Schipol on the evening of November 13, 2015, when it was precisely from there that Ahmed Dahmani, another alleged member from the cell, left the day after the attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis.
A heavy profile
The Swedish lawyer nevertheless admitted it: his position is delicate. Because the profile of his client is heavy. Osama Krayem was identified in an Islamic State group propaganda video showing the execution of a Jordanian pilot, burned alive in a cage. ” I too dream of it at nightdeclared Me Margaux Durand-Poincloux. For me, we don’t stand up for someone in whom we see nothing or only evil. Today I got up because I’m sure he also thinks about it at night. »
Osama Krayem is also the one who gave up trying to blow himself up in the Brussels metro during the attacks of March 22, 2016. In this case, the trial of which opens in the fall in the Belgian capital, he also faces prison at perpetuity.
But in his defense, the man should only be judged ” for the acts he committed in connection with the attacks in Paris “. And since nothing allows her to establish complicity, she claims that only the association of terrorist criminals be retained, an offense punishable at the time of the facts by a sentence of 20 years in prison.
By acceding to her request, the court would not take any risk, she argues: ” You can sleep soundly. He will be sentenced to life imprisonment for complicity in the Brussels attacks in 2023. »
Without going that far, Sofien Ayari’s lawyer asked the court not to punish more than is fair and useful. A ” societal imperative “said Me Maalaoui. Verdict on June 29.