The companion of Amedy Coulibaly, the killer of the Hyper Cacher, was sentenced Wednesday, December 16 to thirty years of criminal imprisonment. However, the young woman is nowhere to be found, probably hidden in Syria where she enjoys a privileged status.
Hayat Boumeddiene was largely absent from the trial of the January 2015 attacks. The companion of Amedy Coulibaly was sentenced by default to 30 years of criminal imprisonment for “terrorist association” and “financing” of terrorism. Missing since 2015, she fled France a few days before Amedy Coulibaly took action. His trail is followed painfully in the sand of the Syrian deserts, and the rubble of cities scarred by war. Today, she is said to be still alive, hidden in Syria, somewhere around Idlib.
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Like the others convicted of the January 2015 bombings trial, the one the anti-terrorism prosecution nicknamed “the princess of the Islamic State” was considered a centerpiece of the attacks. Throughout 2014, Amedy Coulibaly and Hayat Boumeddiene carefully prepared the attacks of January 8 and 9, 2015. The young woman provided the necessary money, and multiplied the scams. Thanks to fake pay slips, she took out several consumer loans, bought and sold three cars in the fall of 2014, for in fine, acquire weapons of war.
Her itinerary draws the contours of a fiercely recruited young woman, far from past clichés that confined jihadist women to the ranks of victims. Its radicalization was rapid. Around 2008, she posed on the beach in a two-piece swimsuit alongside Amedy Coulibaly. Two years later, we can only see his eyes under the wide veil of the niqab that covers it. “She told me that she felt at peace with herself, that it soothed her to say the prayer ”, told her older sister during the trial.
Hayat Boumedienne and Amedy Coulibaly around 2008. DR
Born June 26, 1988 in Paris, the young woman grew up in the sensitive city of Hautes-Noues in Villiers-sur-Marne (Val-de-Marne) in an Algerian family of seven children. She lost her mother at the age of eight, and in 2012, she was placed in a foster home. “I did not accept the death of my mother and the rapid remarriage of my father. I have changed homes several times. I often fought“, She explained to the police in 2010.
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The rebellious teenager grows up, fails her baccalaureate, and meets Amedy Coulibaly. She had attracted the attention of this guy, imprisoned for robbery, when he had seen her in a photo beside the companion of his fellow prisoner. Their relationship begins in 2007 while the young man is still in prison. “I had the feeling that religion occupied an important place in their relationship, explains to France info Me Yassine Yakouti the lawyer of Amedy Coulibaly in 2010. What is certain is that they were madly in love“. On July 5, 2009, the couple married religiously. Hayat Boumeddiene is absent, “in Islam, women do not have to be present. There, it is my father who represented me“, She explained to the police in 2010.
For Céline Martelet, journalist and co-author of the book A perfume of jihad, on jihadist women, “Coulibaly didn’t train him, they trained each other“. In 2010, when Amedy Coulibaly was tried for his attempt to escape the terrorist Smaïn Ait Ali Belkacem, a prosecutor then spoke of “marital radicalization».
Amedy Coulibaly and Hayat Boumeddiene. DR
Her marriage fulfills her, she locks herself in the jihadist ideology. The young woman accompanies Amedy Coulibaly on several occasions to Artigat, in Ariège where Olivier Corel, “the white emir” founded a Salafist community. There are Mohamed Merah, the Clain brothers, Thomas Barnouin and the Kouachi brothers.
The couple are also dating Djamel Beghal, a jihad veteran then under house arrest in Murat in Cantal, whom Amedy Coulibaly met in prison. It was at his home in 2010 that the couple photographed themselves practicing the handling of the crossbow.
Hayat Boumeddiene and Amedy Coulibaly in Cantal in 2010. DR
“The jewel of the Islamic State”
The culmination of this radicalization ended in January 2015. The plan is simple, he must die and join the ranks of the martyrs of the Islamic State, she must leave France and join the self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria. On December 22, 2014, Amedy Coulibaly accompanied him by car to Madrid where their paths separate. He returns to Paris, she flies to Istanbul. From there, she joined Syria, accompanied by the youngest brother Belhoucine, Mehdi.
A few days after the attacks, Dar al-Islam, the review of the Islamic State publishes an interview with the young woman, in its second issue “Que Dieu maudisse la France”. “Praise be to Allah who made my journey easier, it is a good thing to live on a land which is governed by the laws of Allah. I feel a relief to have fulfilled this obligation», She declares in the columns of the magazine. A few days later, she confides in her sister the same feeling. “I’m better than in France, if you knew what’s here, wallah… I’m in a house like I’ve never seen in my life, they take care of me like I’m a princess».
“Hayat Boumeddiene has a different status from other women. None of the women we met during our investigation spoke to her. She enjoys the prestige of her husband. It is protected, put aside ”
Céline Martelet, journalist and co-author of the book Un Parfum de djihad
«For a woman, having the right to an interview is not nothing, explains Céline Martelet. Hayat Boumeddiene has a different status from other women. None of the women we met during our investigation spoke to her. She enjoys the prestige of her husband. She’s protected, put asideShe continues.
For his foster sister, Saadia B., Hayat Boumeddiene did enjoy a privileged status. “I told him about Amedy [Coulibaly] but she explained to me that they were so proud of him. It was like the jewel of the Islamic State. She was in her bubbleShe said at the bar.
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After disappearing from radar, the young woman is said to have passed through the Al-Hol camp in Syrian Kurdistan, where thousands of survivors of the Islamic State are crowded. The information comes from Sonia, a “returning», Now incarcerated in Fleury-Mérogis. During the trial, she says that the young woman was able to quickly escape from the camp. “She was out of the camps before me, explains the “ghost”. She would have succeeded thanks to smugglers. She was in contact with people from Daesh to get her out». For Céline Martelet, this episode confirms how important Hayat Boumeddiene is in the eyes of the Islamic State. “It costs around 12,000 euros to escape the camp, it is very likely that Hayat Boumeddiene did not have to pay them. We took her out quickly to put her away».
Somewhere around Idlib
Today, we do not know where Hayat Boumeddiene is. She could live in the Idlib pocket in northwestern Syria. An area mainly held by Hayat-Tahrir-el-Sham, a jihadist group competing with Daesh but where pockets of the Islamic State remain. It could also be further north, where a multitude of groups remain, and where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hiding when he was killed.
For Sonia, the “ghost”, Hayat Boumeddiene has not renounced his allegiance. “She was still all about the Islamic State, she said during the trial. His project was to stay in the area and return to another caliphate, because that’s what they [les djihadistes] promised“. If her future in Syria is uncertain, in France, the future of “the princess of the Islamic State” is well fixed: in prison, for thirty years.
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