One more slap for the families of the victims of the attack on rue des Rosiers in Paris, already struck by the revelations of the former boss of French intelligence. The latter admitted before a judge to have negotiated just after this massacre a “non-aggression pact in exchange for the abandonment of the charges” with the Palestinian group of Abu Nibal to avoid new attacks on French soil.
The relatives and children of the 6 deceased and 22 wounded on August 9, 1982 therefore clung to the hope of finally seeing a trial open 40 years after the tragedy. Indeed, after long negotiations, one of the suspected shooters, Walid Abdulrahman Abou Zayed, 62, was extradited from Norway in early December. On his arrival on French soil, he was indicted for assassinations and attempted assassinations and then imprisoned in the Health Department.
But in the report drawn up in France on his arrival by the central border police on December 4, notifying the suspect’s placement in judicial detention, the signature of the interpreter in Arabic is missing.
An administrative hiccup noted by the judge who had no other choice than to “refer ex officio to the investigative chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal, for the purpose of assessing the regularity of the procedure” , as his letter indicates. The investigating magistrate preferring to take the lead, rather than letting Me Gendrin and Me Ruiz, the suspect’s lawyers, exploit this procedural loophole which could allow their client to be sent back to Norway.
“I am amazed that we can make such a mistake”
“It’s surreal,” chokes Me. Zerbib, lawyer for the granddaughter of Jo Goldenberg, the manager of the restaurant targeted by this anti-Semitic attack. I am amazed that such a rookie mistake could be made in a matter of this importance. It is an affront to the civil parties. The absence of a signature may entail the invalidity of the minutes. “
There are many cases where custody has been lifted or hearings have been struck out of records for this kind of error. But in an extradition case, especially in a terrorist case, it is unprecedented. “I think that this error is covered by all the other documents of the procedure, because there are other documents attesting that an interpreter was called in,” said a judicial source who wants to be reassuring. Despite everything, nothing is ever certain. And there is a real risk that the procedure will be canceled. “
In this case, in theory, it would only remain for France to request the extradition of Walid Abdulrahman Abou Zayed. But it was already five years before Norway delivered the one who had been the subject of an international arrest warrant in 2015 by the anti-terrorist investigating judge Marc Trévidic who was able to relaunch the investigation since Abu Nidal died in 2002 in Damascus, Syria, rendering the agreement between the French secret service and the terrorist organization null and void.
“Letting him go again represents an additional risk”
Since 1991, Abu Zayed had settled in a small town south of Oslo. He married and in 1997 obtained the nationality of his host country under another name, that of Souhaïl Othman. And Norway did not deliver its nationals until the agreement reached in 2019 between the European Union and the Scandinavian kingdom. Arrested in September 2020, Abou Zayed, father of four children, has always denied having been present in Paris on August 9, 1982, when a commando threw a grenade and fired in a burst in the restaurant of Jewish gastronomy run by Jo Goldenberg rue des Roses in Paris. Despite everything, the extradition of the suspect was validated by the king on November 27. A decision that only had ten days to be implemented.
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“It should be remembered that Norway allowed this man who entered under false identity to stay on its territory and then naturalized it, despite the suspicions which weighed on him,” continues Me Zerbib. Letting him go again therefore represents an additional risk of seeing him escape French justice. “Contacted Me. Gendrin and Me. Ruiz, representatives of the alleged shooter of this attack,” did not wish to comment on this complex affair. “