One wanted to go to Syria, two others glorified Hitler and Nazism, all three were in encrypted messaging with a fourth person dreaming of blowing up a church. Four "immature" youths, suspected of having prepared attacks, will soon be tried in Paris. Two anti-terrorism investigating judges on Thursday ordered trials for "terrorist criminal association" before the criminal court and the juvenile court, sources close to the case said on Friday.
The hearings, whose dates are not final, could be held in February and March, respectively. These four young people arrested in 2021 are accused of radical projects that are sometimes two years old. At the centre of the case is Leila B., 20 years old, whose arrest in Béziers (Hérault) caused a stir. In police custody, she admitted to having "thought" of putting a bomb in the church of Notre-Dame de la Reconciliation in Béziers, according to the order signed on Thursday.
Jihadist modus operandi
At his home was also found a blackened book of addresses collected under the title "The Places of Hate": an oriental restaurant, a Jewish cultural center, a Protestant church... A specificity of this hybrid and unclassifiable case is that he is accused of having possessed or circulated "propaganda documentation and tutorials on the manufacture of explosives" from the Islamic State but also from the ultra-right: a photograph of Samuel Paty, a TATP explosive recipe, a jihadist modus operandi for killing with knives, swastikas, etc.
In police custody, the woman who said she was "a supporter of no ideology" justified this "by her fascination with death, decapitation, violence and her passion for weapons". "Difficult to define" during the investigation, "worrying" in detention, she will be tried twice, by the criminal court and by the juvenile court, depending on whether the acts of which she is accused took place before or after she reached the age of majority. "It doesn't seem to me to be at all consistent with the proper administration of justice," said his lawyer, Dylan Slama.
In the dock will be a boy aged 16 at the time, arrested in the Haut-Rhin, the only one not to be detained in this case, but also a newly adult, Enzo T., whom the investigators arrested in Seine-Maritime. His lawyer did not respond. Both admitted that they had wanted to commit a violent action, of the "Columbine" type, in a school, with the idea of each taking revenge for past harassment. A mosque has also been mentioned. But the magistrates also and above all retained their strong ideological impregnation with the far right.
Their action was planned on the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's death. Both admired the Great Replacement Theory but also several perpetrators of mass killings attributed to the far right, including Anders Breivik (Norway, Utøya, 2011, 77 deaths), Brenton Tarrant (New Zealand, Christchurch, 2019, 51 deaths) and Dylan Klebold (United States, Columbine, 1999, 13 deaths). On the jihadist side? A son of a good family, a "little genius who twisted" according to a source close to the case, arrested in Paris and whose lawyer did not want to react.
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Between the ages of 16 and 18, he is suspected of having wanted to join Omar Diaby's group affiliated with Al-Qaeda in the Iraqi-Syrian zone - he proposed to Leila B. to marry him and accompany her - but also of having supplied the Biterroise with documentation on explosives. Although he "declares that he dissuaded her from committing an attack", this administrator of a Telegram propaganda channel admitted to a certain "sympathy" for the Islamic State group and for several attacks, such as the one on September 11 or the one against Samuel Paty.
The trials will be an opportunity to question the profiles, motivations and youth of each of the defendants, while similar words appear in their psychiatric reports: "immaturity" first, but also persecution or victimization, etc. In this kind of case, sums up an anti-terrorist magistrate, "one wonders if ideology is not a pretext and if the driving force is not the fascination with mass killings." But the risk, argues another, "is that someone halfway between radical commitment and great malaise could turn into a mass murderer."