Kurds killed in Paris. The anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office is not seized
William M., the 69-year-old man suspected of having killed three Kurds and injured three others on Friday in Paris, was indicted on Monday for “murder and attempted murder because of race, ethnicity , nation or religion, as well as for unauthorized acquisition and possession of a weapon”, and imprisoned. The case created a particular stir in the Kurdish community, which was about to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the assassination of three Kurdish activists, Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Saylemez, on January 9, 2013, in Paris. The lawyer for the families of these activists, Me Antoine Comte, reacts to this new murderous attack against the Kurds, in the heart of Paris.
When you learned of these assassinations of December 23, did you immediately think of a political motive?
Three days earlier, on December 20, we had just had a meeting with the investigating judges and the families of the three Kurdish women killed in 2013. During this meeting, we had new elements, attesting to the circulation of Turkish death squads, in Austria, Germany, Belgium… In general, we felt that the tenth anniversary of these assassinations had created a particular tension. For the Kurdish community of course, but also in other spheres, let’s say… geopolitical. When I learned of this new attack, I couldn’t help but think of the January 2013 attack and the idea of a targeted attack.
Are there specific elements that support this thesis of political assassination?
We must be careful, but some have been mentioned, which remain to be verified: the existence of this meeting of activists which was planned at the time of the attack and was postponed, because of the strikes in transport; the information that the presumed assassin was dropped off by a car… All of this should be checked. Ten years ago, during the assassination of the three Kurdish women, the Paris prosecutor, François Molins, immediately opened a judicial investigation into the charge of a terrorist offence. I do not understand why, ten years later, on very similar facts, we do not do the same thing and that the national anti-terrorism prosecution is not seized. When one is at the start of such a case, which by definition sows terror, one must as a lawyer use the broadest qualifications, in this case that for “terrorism”, to allow the most complete investigations. This is not the decision that was made, and it is outrageous. Because it suggests that for political reasons, we absolutely do not want to question, even implicitly, Turkish policy.
For you, is it a political decision, more than a legal one?
We can think so, because the political pressure is very strong. Even if there is also, from my point of view, in this case, a massive judicial dysfunction. I do not understand how we were able to release this individual, who had already been convicted several times, and who was only prosecuted for a very light qualification, following his attack on a migrant camp last year (« violence with ITT of less or more than eight days with a weapon, with premeditation and of a racist nature and degradation « – Editor’s note). We are told that he had already spent a year in preventive detention, and that we could not help but release him. But we could absolutely have prosecuted him on a heavier basis, and kept him in detention longer. Moreover, why was he not registered in radicalization files?
What does the profile of William M. mean to you?
First, murderous racism, which unfortunately spreads in this country like wildfire. Ten years ago, the assassin of the three Kurdish activists did not even have a known criminal record, and yet the facts were immediately qualified as terrorist. And subsequently, at the end of the investigation, the involvement of the Turkish services was proven. There, while William M. has a heavy past, the PNAT does not move. However, he could seek to know, for example, with whom William M. was detained, during his preventive period. This pusillanimity of the prosecution is very disturbing.
The Paris prosecutor justified this non-referral by the fact that nothing linked the defendant to “an extremist ideology”. Do you understand it?
No. When you want, you can, in legal matters. In 2013, Mr. Molins had no more evidence than the prosecutor today, and yet he had placed this investigation under the banner of anti-terrorism. I don’t want to open all the doors for fun. But I would not like the parquet floor to close doors. Moreover, I find it shameful, as a French citizen, that my country is not able to protect Kurds who have had their skin pierced in the name of the international coalition, in the fight against Daesh.