Misunderstanding and immeasurable suffering. Before the special assize court where she is invited to testify, the mother of Mohamed and Mehdi Belhoucine has more tears than words to provide this Tuesday morning. His two eldest sons, however brilliant students, both joined the ranks of the Islamic State group in early January 2015, accompanying in particular Hayat Boumeddiene, the companion of Amy Coulibaly, the future killer of the Hyper Cacher a week later .
" I did not understand […]. If I had known they were going to leave, I would have reported them right away. I would prefer to see them in prison, “sobs this overwhelmed woman. Her two children, who have been tried in their absence for ten days as part of a vast trial of jihadist networks, are presumed dead in the Syrian-Iraqi zone.
Mohamed, the eldest, appears to be the most influential of the siblings. While studying at the prestigious École des mines d'Albi (Tarn), he abandoned his studies. A first alert came in 2010 when he was arrested as part of a procedure for the association of terrorist criminals in connection with Pakistani-Afghan channels.
Mohamed Belhoucine meets Coulibaly in prison
Incarcerated between May 2010 and April 2011, it was during this passage behind bars that Mohamed Belhoucine will meet Amy Coulibaly. In 2014, he was sentenced to one year in prison. "He had told me that he had just translated texts," says his mother, who is struggling to say more about the roots of this case. "Then he resumed studies by registering at the university in Paris," she continues. He had a job ( editor's note: in catering ), an apartment, he had everything… ”
Mohamed Belhoucine becomes a father. He also developed privileged friendships with Sofian Nairy, a former fellow student at the École des mines who had been converted into a radical preacher at the Sevran radar mosque (Seine-Saint-Denis). The latter even moved to his parents for a few months. "He was helpful and adorable," recalls Mohamed Belhoucine's mother. Sofian Nairy is one of the many accused absent from this trial.
Mehdi Belhoucine is in his third year of license at the University of Jussieu in Paris when he ends his schooling. He left for a year in Egypt to learn Arabic before returning to live with his parents in Aulnay-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis). "He too was going to make a living, work ..." states his mother.
"This situation, I do not wish it on my worst enemy"
The Advocate General questions these two school routes suddenly interrupted. "When they tell me they want to stop, what do I tell them?" she answers. When they were little, I could say something but there, they choose to live their lives. Their mother also claims not to have noticed any change in the religious practice of her sons. "We didn't see anything coming," confirms her husband, also summoned to the witness stand. This situation, I do not wish it to my worst enemy. "
A third year medical student, the third brother of the siblings has never deviated from his path of excellence. But his testimony did not lighten the court any more. “I didn't expect them to leave at all. I was surprised, a bit like everyone else, ”he delivers without spilling out.
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The president does not insist. But to each of the witnesses of the Belhoucine family, he warns that this ordeal is probably not the last. Mohamed and Mehdi Belhoucine will again be tried by default next spring for the trial of the January 2015 attacks.