a racist act, but not terrorist, in the eyes of the prosecution – RT in French

In the absence of elements linking the suspect to racist ideology, the anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office did not take up the investigation into the assassination of the three Kurds in Paris, relaunching the debate on the border between common law and terrorist act.

Before the investigators, William Mallet, the man accused of having killed three people in the heart of Paris on December 23, near the Kurdish cultural center, admitted his “pathological hatred of foreigners” and his desire to “murder migrants” .

But the racist motivations of this retired train driver were not backed by a supremacist ideology. Thus, the national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office (Pnat) has not at this stage taken up the investigation and the judicial investigation was entrusted on December 26 to an investigating judge from the general pole of the Paris court.

Many Kurds, especially during demonstrations interspersed with outbursts of great violence, refuse to believe the version of a shooter with racist motivations, and denounce a “terrorist” act by implicating Turkey. “It is unacceptable that the terrorist character is not retained”, considered, in the wake of the shooting, Agit Polat, spokesperson for the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F).

“The fact that our associations are targeted is of a terrorist and political nature,” he said on December 24, after his meeting with the prefect of police. The day before, the Kurdish representative considered “inadmissible that the terrorist character is not retained”.

The intention of the author takes precedence over the consequences of the act

The Kurds received the support of the head of La France insoumise (LFI) Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who also requested a referral to the Pnat, refusing to believe that the Kurds were killed by “chance”. “It’s a terrorist act“, “It is not an individual adventure” had notably launched the ex-candidate for the presidential election, during a demonstration on December 24 in tribute to the victims.

In reaction, the French ambassador to Turkey Hervé Magro was summoned on December 26 by the Turkish government, Ankara protesting against what it perceives as “anti-Turkey propaganda”. “We expressed our dissatisfaction with the propaganda launched by the circles of the PKK [Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan] against our country, the French government and certain politicians being used as instruments of propaganda”, criticized this source.

The Pnat, which went to the scene of the triple assassination shortly after the events, did not seize, but carefully examined the first elements revealed by the investigation.

“The penal code defines terrorist acts as those committed intentionally in relation to an individual or collective enterprise aimed at seriously disturbing public order by intimidation or terror”, recalls the anti-terrorist prosecution to AFP.

No connection with “an extremist ideology”

For the Pnat to seize, it is necessary “to characterize in the author of the facts a specific intention which is that of adhering to a terrorist enterprise”, he specifies. “It is therefore not the consequences of an act that must be analysed, but the intention of its author, the goal he has pursued”. An attack can “seriously disturb public order” without “the author’s intention [ait été] necessarily to terrorize or intimidate”, according to the Pnat.

The search of William Mallet’s home like the exploitation of a telephone and a computer revealed no link with “an extremist ideology”, reported Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau. The suspect was neither known to the intelligence services nor listed as belonging to the ultra-right, according to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

“I understand that it may shock, but the Pnat is always cautious and prefers to start from” below “, on a common law offense and move on to a terrorist qualification if the progress of the investigation justifies it”, explains Xavier Nogueras , a lawyer accustomed to terrorist proceedings.

The investigations are continuing and it is not excluded that the facts will be requalified as terrorist assassinations if elements accrediting this track appear over the judicial information.

A painful precedent for the Kurdish community

The murderous attack on rue d’Enghien echoes for the Kurdish community the assassination of three militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on January 9, 2013 in Paris. The investigations into these three deaths were then qualified as assassinations in connection with a terrorist enterprise.

The terrorist qualification had been justified in particular by the profile of the victims, PKK militants, and the suspect, Omer Güney. This Turkish national, who died in 2016, was suspected of being close to Turkish ultranationalist circles and of having infiltrated the Kurdish community in France since the end of 2011.

“We do not fully understand the logic of the prosecution: in 2013 the investigation was opened for a terrorist offense for similar facts” to those that occurred on rue d’Enghien, is surprised with AFP Antoine Comte, lawyer for civil parties . For him, “an assassination of three people in the streets of Paris is obviously to spread terror in the Kurdish population, but not only”.

“Between Güney and today, the contours of terrorist offenses have been much better defined because we have had a lot of case law with the various trials that have taken place since the Merah affair”, estimates Maître Nogueras, who was the lawyer for Omer Güney. “It is not certain that the Pnat would have taken action immediately if the 2013 murders had taken place today,” he considers.

RT All Fr Trans

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