Trial for jihadist propaganda – An Algerian considers himself targeted for his “religion” and his 8 years in Guantanamo
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May 12, 2022
– An Algerian considers himself targeted for his “religion” and his 8 years in Guantanamo
The trial opened Tuesday at the Paris Criminal Court with Saber Lahmar, suspected of having favored the departure of several people to jihad.
Published: 10.05.2022, 6:01 p.m.
“I was in Guantanamo, all my studies were religious”: the Algerian Saber Lahmar presented himself on Tuesday as the ideal culprit at the opening of his correctional trial in Paris for jihadist propaganda and incitement at the start of the jihad of several people, whom he disputes.
Detained from 2002 to 2008 in the military prison with a sinister reputation of Guantanamo, on the island of Cuba, Saber Lahmar, 52, was cleared by American justice and welcomed by France on December 1, 2009.
He is appearing before the 16th correctional chamber of the Paris Criminal Court for criminal association of terrorist criminals, with another defendant, suspected of jihadist propaganda and of having incited several aspirants to jihad, initially in Iraq or Syria.
In the defendants’ box, Saber Lahmar showed up wearing a surgical mask and a black tracksuit top, adorned with glasses, his hair cut short. During his personality interrogation, gradually becoming animated, with expressive hands and a high-pitched voice, the defendant defended himself from these accusations, speaking in Arabic:
“I know why I’m here. It’s not Salim Machou or Othman Yekhlef”, two men at the start of the investigation targeting Saber Lahmar because he is suspected of having favored their departure for the ranks of the Islamic State group in 2015.
Othman Yekhlef has been considered “dead on the spot” since the end of 2015, while Salim Machou, who left with his wife and four children, is one of the seven French people sentenced to death in 2019 by Iraqi justice for their membership in the group. Islamic State.
From Arabic to French
“My religion led me here”, continued this Muslim who passed through the University of Medina, in Saudi Arabia.
“That’s the motive. Some people want to be innocent “of their departure for the land of jihad” and say “it’s not me, it’s Saber Lahmar”, considered a religious “knowledgeable” by many witnesses questioned during the investigation.
The person concerned then spontaneously speaks in French and recalls this extraordinary element of his profile, interpreted according to him for the prosecution: “I made Guantanamo”. He switches back to Arabic: “For justice, it’s convincing. But I don’t think we can play with justice in that sense.”
“Today, I am in detention because I knew someone who went to Syria”, Salim Machou. “But he can go where he wants, on the Moon or underground, it’s not my problem, I’m not responsible for anyone, only myself (…). I am not here to be the guide of so and so, “defended the defendant again.
Justice also accuses this supposed “religious guide” of “rooting in radical Islam” with “very violent remarks” during sermons “attacking Jews, calling for the killing of apostates and for martyrdom” who would have been held in a mosque but also in a clandestine prayer room in Gironde.
He is also suspected of having maintained links with several figures of jihadism in France. The trial is to be held until Friday.