11 septembre 9/11 aaron klein abbas abdallah abdallah II abdelkader merah accords d'oslo adam zertal adenauer affaires Ă©trangĂ¨res afghanistan africom afrique afrique du sud ahmadinejad aipac AKP al qaeda al qaida al-arabiya al-fayed al-qaida algĂ©rie algeria aliyah allemagne amĂ©rique america anavad ANC angela merkel ankara ansar dine antisĂ©mitisme antisemitism antizionism apartheid aqmi arabes arabes israĂ©liens arabie saoudite arabs arafat armĂ©e armĂ©niens army ashkenazy assad assemblĂ©e gĂ©nĂ©rale assyriens atatĂĽrk auschwitz autoritĂ© palestinienne autriche-hongrie ayrault azawad Ă©conomie Ă©glise Ă©gypte Ă©lections Ă©tat Ă©tats-unis Ă©vangĂ©liques bachman baker balkans balladur bangladesh bankruptcy banlieues barack obama barak barbares bat yeor bayrou begin beheading beilin belgique belgium bennet benoĂ®t xvi berbĂ¨res bernheim bible biden bill clinton blancs blood libel BNVCA bourgine brĂ©sil brexit britain brzezinski burke bush byzantins cahuzac cameron canada carter Castro cfr chaos charlie hebdo Chavez cheney chiisme chiites china chine chirac chosroes ii chrĂ©tiens christianisme christianity christians church chypre circumcision cisjordanie citizenship claude guĂ©ant clĂ©menceau clermont-tonnerre clinton cnn CNRS colin powell cologne columbia commentary communautĂ© communism communisme communistes confĂ©rence de la paix confrĂ©ries congrĂ¨s conseil de sĂ©curitĂ© conservatism conservative conservatives consistoire constantinople constitution contestation coptes coran corĂ©e du nord corsica crif crime crise crise sociale cuba cuisine cukierman culture daesh daniel johnson daniel pearl david pryce-jones dĂ©mocrates dĂ©mocratie dĂ©mographie de gasperi de gaulle democrats demographics demography deng desportes dhimmis dhimmitude dieudonnĂ© dinard djihad dollar doxa dreyfus droit international droite droits de l'homme druzes egypte eilat mazar eisenhower election elections emanuel emigration empire ottoman ena enderlin enfants erbakan erdogan espagne etat etats-unis ethnic ethnie EU eurabia eurasia eureka euro europe european parliament european union exode expulsion expulsions fabius facebook far left far right fatah fayĂ§al ferdinand ferhat fethullah gĂĽlen fifth republic fillon finkielkraut flandre flotille fmi FN fondapol food foreign affairs foreign policy france franco frĂ¨res musulmans french french muslims front national frontiĂ¨re internationale fusion antisemitism gates gauche gaza gĂ©nĂ©tique gĂ©nocide gĂ©opolitique genĂ¨se general assembly genocide geopolitics george soros george w. bush george washington germany ghozlan gingrich giscard d'estaing giuliani globalization golden age goldnadel goldstone gorbatchev grande-bretagne grĂ¨ce greece greens grippe espagnole guĂ©ant guĂ©rilla guerre guerre civile guerre de sĂ©cession gurfinkiel hallal halutz hamas hamon haredim harkabi hĂ©breux hekla herzl herzog hezbollah hillary clinton hillel halkin histoire history hitler hollande holocaust holocauste houellebecq HUJI hungary huntsman hurvah hypercasher ibn saoud icm research idĂ©ologie identitĂ© nationale ifop iforas iiie rĂ©publique ilan halimi immigrants immigration implantations inĂ¶nĂĽ inde ined internet interview irak iran irgoun isabelle ISIS islam islamic state islamism islamisme islamistes islamists israĂ©lites israĂ«l israel israel beiteinu italie ivan de bloch j call j street jabotinsky japon jĂ©rusalem jĂĽnger jean paul II jean-marie le pen jerusalem jewish revival jews jihad jihadism jihadisme jihadistes jihadists john mccain johnson jordanie jour de colĂ¨re judaĂŻsme judĂ©o-christianisme juifs juifs amĂ©ricains juppĂ© kabylie kadhafi kadima kadimah kassam kemal kennedy kerry kgb khamenei khomeini kim kippour kissinger knesset kohl korsia kosher kosher supermarket kosovo kotel kouchner l'express l'obs la paix maintenant laĂŻcitĂ© lapid ldj le drian le monde le nouvel observateur le pen le point lebanon left leftwing Levant liban libĂ©raux liberation libertariens libertĂ© libye liebermann ligne verte likoud likud livni livres london louis xvi LR lyons macarthur maccain macron magoudi mahmoud abbas mai 1968 mali mandala mandat mandela mao marcion marcionisme marine le pen marines marion marĂ©chal-le pen maroc maronites marseilles massacres massortis mavi marmara mayflower mayotte mĂ©dias mĂ©lanchon mccain media medias mein kampf mer morte mer noire merah meretz mergui merkel mexique michel gurfinkiel middle east migrants migration missiles mitterrand mnla mohamed merah monarchie monarchy monde arabe monde islamique monod mont du temple montauban montebourg montesquieu morocco morsi mosaic moscovici moubarak moyen-orient munich murder muslims musulmans napolĂ©on napoleon naqba nasser natalitĂ© national assembly national front nations unies nato nazis neo-french netanyahu nethanyahu new emerging powers new york new york review of books new york times nicolas sarkozy nixon noĂ«l nobel noirs north america norvĂ¨ge nouvel observateur november 13 NPA nuclĂ©aire obama occident occupation odessa oliganthropie olmert olp onfray onu opinion orban orient orthodoxes oslo otan ottomans pacifisme pahlavi paix pakistan palestine palestinians palestiniens palin panislamisme pape paradigme paradigmes paris paritĂ© parlement europĂ©en partition pĂ©tain pĂ©trole pence peres peripheral france perses peste antonine peste de justinien petraeus peuple juif pew pipes PLO pogrom pogroms poland police politique poll pologne pompidou populism portugal poutine prĂ©sidentielle prĂ©sidentielles premier tour presidential election primaires primaries printemps arabe processus de paix proche-orient prophĂ¨te proportional representation protestantisme PS pundak putin qaradawi quai d'orsay quartiers quenelle qumran rabbis rabin racism rahm emanuel raid rajoy rasmussen rĂ©formĂ©s rĂ©formes rĂ©fugiĂ©s rĂ©publicains rĂ©volution reagan refugees regional elections religieux religion rempart renaud camus republican pacts republicans restaurants revolution right riots riyad rogers romains romney ron paul roosevelt roquette rosenfeld rouhani royal royaume-uni russia russie rwanda sadate sahara salafistes salem al-fayed sanctuaire du rocher sandler santorum sarah halimi sarkozy saudi arabia savir sĂ©golĂ¨ne royal sĂ©nat sĂ©pharades scandale SCO SDN seconde guerre mondiale security council selden senate shafik shalit shalom akhshav shamir sharon shas shoah sionisme sionistes socialist socialists sociĂ©tĂ© society sondages soral soviet union spcj ss staline state nobility state of emergency statism stratĂ©gie strauss-kahn strikes subworlds succession sunnites sweden sykes-picot synagogue syria syrie tahrir tardieu tariq ramadan taubira tel-aviv terre d'israĂ«l terror terrorism terrorisme thatcher the west time tocqueville torah totalitarisme toulouse tourisme travaillistes trevidic tribus trilatĂ©rale truman trump tsahal tsipras tunisie turkey turquie tv ue uk ukraine UMP un unesco union europĂ©enne union pour la mĂ©diterranĂ©e united nations united states unrwa URSS US usa valeurs actuelles valeurs judĂ©o-chrĂ©tiennes valls vatican vĂ©drine ve rĂ©publique versailles veto vichy vietnam violence walter laqueur war washington washington post wastelands west wilson women wright yellow vests yemen zacharie zapatero
Thursday, November 9 2017
France/ There Will Be A Second Merah Trial
The Merah-Malki trial helped the French public opinion to get a fuller perception of what jihadism and terrorism really are.
General Prosecutor Naima Rudloff appealed the sentences passed on November 3 by the Special Criminal Court in Paris on Abdelkader Merah and Fettah Malki, the two major accomplices of Mohamed Merah, a jihadist terrorist who engaged in a killing spree in Toulouse and Montauban, Southern France, in March 2012. A 23 years old French citizen of Algerian descent, Mohamed Merah murdered three soldiers, a young rabbi and three preteen Jewish children, and wounded or maimed more people, before being shot by the security forces.
It took five years to conduct the preliminary inquiries : the prosecution case is said to comprise of no less than one hundred seventeen volumes of a few hundred pages each. The Merah-Malki trial itself lasted five weeks and was intensely followed throughout France. On the face of it, both defendants were sentenced to quite harsh penalties : Abdelkader Merah was to serve 20 years in jail, and Malki 14 years. Eric Dupont-Moretti, the defendants chief counsel, is routinely dubbed in the French media as « Acquitator » for his impressive record in acquitals, even in seemingly desperate cases. He pleaded for Merah – and by implication Malki as well – to be cleared from all charges. This time, he lost.
Still, the Prosecutor General settled for an appeal. Which means that the case will be
judged again, presumably next year, albeit by a differently composed Special Court. (While a regular Criminal Court, under French law, consists of professional judges and a citizens jury drawn by lot, the Special Criminal Court, which is located in Paris and deals with cases pertaining to terrorism, consists only of professional judges, since some regular jurors may be threatened or intimidated by some defendants.) Many observers wonder whether, under such conditions, the same facts are not just going to be rehearsed, and the same witnesses heard anew. With no certainty about the final outcome.
Why, then, should General Prosecutor Rudloff be appealing ? The most obvious reason is that, considering the gravity of Mohamed Merah’s crimes and the bonds that developped between the defendants and him, she was asking for the maximum penalties : life imprisonment for Abdelkader Merah, whom she charged both for complicity in murder and murder attempt, and for participation in a criminal terrorist conspiracy ; twenty years for Malki, charged for participation in the same conspiracy. Clearly, the November 3 verdict came as a disappointment in this respect.
Likewise, the civil parties feel that the verdict, which retained only the second charge against Abdelkader Merah and did not fully retain the charge against Malki, was both an insult to the victims’ memory and a dangerous precedent for the judicial handling of other terrorism cases.
Take for instance Latifa Ibn Ziaten, a 57 years old Moroccan born woman who immigrated to France at the age of 17, and a devout, scarf wearing, Muslim. Her son Imad Ibn Ziaten was serving as a sergeant in the First Paratroopers Regiment, an elite unit in the French army. He was shot at pointblank by Mohamed Merah in Toulouse on March 11, 2012. Ever since then, Latifa has been an activist for interfaith peace and democratic patriotism, and against radical Islam. When she heard about the verdict, she said that « her son died in vain since the Court did not go far enough » against the terrorist’s accomplices, and that « people in France are too naive » in these matters.
The Representative Council of French Jewry (Crif) expressed a similar opinion : « Islamist terrorists may understand the verdict as a sign of weakness ». As for the conservative mayor of Toulouse, Jean-Luc Moudenc, he said that, in front of such a « minimal level condemnation », he could only « think of the victims, including the three children ».
But Rudloff appealed for more compelling reasons as well. According to her, « the Court did not draw all the judicial consequences of the facts » gathered by the General Prosecutor’s Office. A prosecutor at the Paris Criminal Court for twenty seven years, she is widely seen as one of the top legal and judicial experts in France, and a sharp critic of judicial dysfunctioning : two years ago, she even founded Jurispensées, a think tank for a judiciary reform. One may then surmise that in addition to her deep understanding of the Merah-Malki case (« an encyclopedic vision of the case », according to Elie Korchia, one of the Jewish victims’ main counsels), her wariness of the judicial system’s shortcomings is at play, and that she will use the issue as an opportunity for advancing her views.
Dupond-Moretti, Abdelkader Merah’s defensor, insisted throughout the trial that the Court should stick to the letter of the law and not allow « public opinion » to interfere with the due process of justice. Such remarks may have influenced the Court in some measure. But on the other hand, trials are also expressions of moral values. And in fact, the Merah-Malki trial helped the French public opinion to get a fuller perception of what jihadism and terrorism really are. Many people were shocked, during the hearings, by the defendants staunch identification with radical Islam and their lack of empathy for Mohamed Merah’s victims. Many people realized for the first time that patriotic French Muslim soldiers were as brutally targeted as Jews. This is going to have a lasting impact.
© Michel Gurfinkiel, 2017
A modified version of this article was published by The Jewish Chronicle on November 9, 2017.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
The author does not allow comments to this entry