It is a relief for the family of Fabien Guyomard, victim of terrorism at the age of 30, in 2015, in Bamako.
The trial of the alleged perpetrators of the Radisson Blu and La Terrasse attacks, which left 25 dead in the Malian capital, opened on Tuesday in the presence of the main accused, the jihadist Fawaz Ould Ahmed alias "Ibrahim 10".
Doubt remained until the last minute on the presence on the dock of the Special Antiterrorist Court of this Mauritanian in his forties, a senior executive of the Al-Mourabitoune terrorist group, affiliated with Al-Qaida.
Rumors had indicated that this lieutenant of the Algerian jihadist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar was one of some 200 detainees released in early October in exchange for four hostages, including Frenchwoman Sophie Pétronin and Malian politician Soumaïla Cissé.
But as an AFP journalist noted, he was taken from his cell and taken hooded in an armored van to the court, placed under high security, by elite police officers in the face also hidden.
It was not traded for Sophie Pétronin
"It's good that he has access to justice, he will have his little truth to say, and why he did this and that", declared on the sidelines of the hearing his lawyer, Tiessolo Konaré, a tenor of the bar who had defended the former 2012 coup leader in Mali, Captain Amadou Sanogo.
"It's important to have this type of trial," added the lawyer, confident that he "thought that the trial would not take place" and that "his client would not be there".
He explained that he received Ibrahim's file 10 "two or three weeks ago".
"Ibrahim 10" is accused of having killed with an assault rifle a Frenchman, Fabien Guyomard, a Belgian and three Malians, on March 7, 2015, in the Bamako restaurant La Terrasse, an action to "avenge the prophet" perpetrated in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, according to the investigation.
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He is also suspected of having "planned and carried out" the attack on November 20 of the same year against the luxury hotel Radisson Blu.
Two men had then "shot at anything that moves", killing 20 people, including 14 foreigners, before being shot.
Attack in Bamako: the Malian “godfather” of Fabien Guyomard testifies
The first hearing, Tuesday morning, was devoted to reading the orders for reference.
The trial, the duration of which has not been specified, will resume Wednesday with the questioning of the accused.
Many Malian civil parties were present at the opening of the trial, but no one close to Western victims.
A retransmission by videoconference was however organized "so that the French civil parties can follow", explained the President of the Court.
A huge relief for the Guyomard family
The National Federation of Victims of Attacks and Collective Accidents (Fenvac), which supports the family of Fabien Guyomard, expressed its “immense relief on seeing the main accused, Fawaz Ould Ahmed, appear on the screen and in hearing his name pronounced by the Malian judge during the broadcast ”, a little frustrated by his technical“ poor quality ”.
Despite "the silence of the authorities in the face of our legitimate questions which increased the apprehension of the families of victims on the eve of an expected trial, we underline the quality of the work of the Malian and French justice both within the framework of the instruction only in the trial phase ”, declares the general director of Fenvac, Sophia Seco.
One hand on the hip, the other to lean on the bar, Fawaz Ould Ahmed, physique of colossus, dressed in a gray boubou, frizzy hair and a full beard, listened without flinching to the facts with which he is accused. .
He asked for help from an Arabic translator, for fear of "stumbling over a few words" in French.
When asked, "Do you have a lawyer?
", He replied that he" did not know him ".
In Mali, in terrorism cases, many defendants are assigned legal counsel, often at the last minute.
At his side at the helm, Sadou Chaka (alias Moussa or Oussama Maïga), a dark gray boubou, was according to the investigation "responsible for the delivery of weapons to the target towns".
Aged 16 at the time, he is accused of being involved in the Radisson Blu attack.
As the young man spoke only Songhai, a language in northern Mali, the president of the court asked a translator to summarize the charges: "Tell him that they have done extraordinary damage, that they have killed people. men and women!
The third defendant, Abdoulbaki Abdramane Maïga (alias Abou Mahamadoune), was missing for his part.
"We were told of absence, but we know that he was released by
, namely the State of Mali", said at the exit of the hearing one of the lawyers of the civil parties, Alassane Diop. .
His name appears on a list, not officially authenticated, of some 200 detainees claimed by the jihadists and released by the Malian authorities in exchange for Sophie Pétronin, Soumaïla Cissé and two Italian hostages.
"We necessarily asked ourselves the question of the acceptability of a negotiation which would justify the release of jihadists", explains Me Gérard Chemla, a Fenvac lawyer.