The trial began three weeks ago with an exchange of smiles between the two former friends of the Banana district who became sworn enemies. It ended exactly the same way this Friday around 21:30 p.m. As if, for them, the essential was not there. Hanine Benbouabdellah, known as Poub, was nevertheless sentenced to thirty years in prison, with two-thirds security, for the murder in September 2016 in Pantin (Seine-Saint-Denis) of Essma Cheambi, the sister of Yassine Cheambi, known as the Ziente. On Wednesday, the attorney general had requested the same sentence.
At the announcement of the verdict, all the relatives of the mother of the family executed in the street stood up to applaud before being called to order by the president. The magistrate has, until the end, managed to keep this trial under high tension. From the first day, the two rival clans had failed to fight on the forecourt of the Palace of Justice. From the next day, one of the defendants appearing free was accompanied at each of his movements by a dozen "supporters", resembling bodyguards.
This Friday evening, shortly before the verdict, the mobile gendarmes had reserved a wing of the court for each clan to avoid at all costs that the protagonists do not cross paths. "It's rare that we manage to set up such a device," slipped a gendarme.
"We will not let go of the case if he appeals," warns the victim's little sister
This context of vendetta, which everyone, or almost, linked to the murder in 2013 of Poub's older brother, Zoheir Benbouabdellah, for which Yassine Cheambi had been tried before being acquitted, vampirized these three weeks of hearing, leaving little room for the victim Essma Cheambi. The murder of the 34-year-old woman, mother of a child aged 16 months at the time, was "a cold, methodical execution," said the attorney general, denouncing "the law of retaliation" and "the desire for revenge" of the accused.
During the second week, his immediate family was still able to pay tribute to him. "We did all this for her," Kaoula, the victim's little sister, told us. I am convinced that Hanine Benbouabdellah is the killer. Even if he appeals, we will be there. We will not let the matter go. »
Big brother acquitted
If the jurors hit hard for Poub, they were more lenient for the seven co-accused. Up to two years in prison for the men who helped him on the run. His former girlfriend, who was his main accuser during the investigation before a surprising turnaround after a few days of trial, was also sentenced to two years without a warrant of committal. Her ex-mistress gets away with a one-year suspended sentence.
Three other men, also at the assizes for having helped the caïd of the twentieth century, were however acquitted. Among them, Mounir Benbouabdellah, known as Blond. "A logical acquittal given these three weeks of hearing where the prosecution's case collapsed," says his lawyer William Word. Poub's older brother, if cleared by the court for this case, must now appear for an assassination attempt during a settling of scores. As of Tuesday, he will be back at the assizes.