After 14 hours of deliberation, the king of afro-trap MHD, whose real name is Mohamed Sylla, was sentenced this Saturday night to 12 years in prison for the murder of a 23-year-old during a deadly brawl in the summer of 2018, in Paris. The prosecution and defence now have 10 days to appeal.
On the night of July 5 to 6, 2018, Loïk K. a young man from the city of Grange-aux-Belles (19th arrondissement) was hit by a Mercedes belonging to Mohamed Sylla, then beaten and stabbed to death by a dozen hooded individuals. The car was found the next day set on fire in a parking lot. The perpetrators belonged to the city of Chaufourniers, a rival district with which clashes, increasingly bloody, are continuous.
The trial, which began five years later, highlighted all the weaknesses of the investigation. To identify each participant, investigators relied heavily on videos from the crime scene, two filmed by CCTV cameras and a third by a witness from his balcony. But these sequences, filmed at night and from afar, leave serious doubts about the reliability of the identification. As a sign of the weaknesses of the case, one of the accused was exonerated by a police officer before the court, an extremely rare occurrence: "We do not have enough evidence against Wissem E. For us, he is not in this case." For its part, the defense has not ceased to denounce a real "judicial fiasco", with a file based solely on rumor: "You are on a very slippery judicial ground that is built from a rumor," castigated Me Elise Arfi, lawyer of the rapper.
Because the case suffers the terrible code of silence that holds these gangs of young people from the neighborhoods. All the accused denied involvement in the murder, but some confessed to knowing the real perpetrators. Except that none were willing to give names: "Throughout the file, you know very well what is happening and what people can incur. I have no privileges," Mohamed Sylla admitted during his interrogation. Submission to the code of silence is accompanied by pressure and threats that leave any attempt to obtain the truth futile: "Concretely, I was asked to shut my mouth on this case," said Wissem E. For fear of reprisals, almost all the prosecution witnesses did not appear at the summons of the Paris Assize Court.
A bitter taste
On Thursday, the attorney general had requested two acquittals and sentences of 13 to 20 years in prison against the other seven defendants, including 18 years in prison for the rapper. On the occasion of the last words of the accused this morning, Mohamed Sylla had again denied having participated in this bloody lynching: "From the beginning, I claim my innocence in this story and I will continue to claim my innocence," he warned, while many fans massed on the benches of the public.
At the end of three weeks of hearings, this verdict leaves a bitter taste for the family of the victim who demanded "that those who know speak, that the truth be manifested, that justice be done". What to resume the question of the president, powerless in the face of the weight of omerta in this file: "Is there room for the truth, today in this room of assizes?"