Thursday, September 22, 2016

The former member of the GIA who had fled France, arrested in Switzerland, Le Figaro

Merouane Benahmed, convicted of terrorism in 2006, was assigned to residence near Laval. On the run since the 8th of last September, he was arrested in the canton of Lausanne, and is in detention pending extradition.

On the run since a dozen of days, the former member of the armed islamic Group (GIA) Merouane Benahmed was located. According to the federal Office of Justice (FOJ), the Algerian 42 years old, assigned to residence in France since 2011, has been arrested in Switzerland while he was a political asylum request, confirming information of France Info. His arrest took place in Vallorbe, in the canton of Lausanne, pointed out to the FOJ. “The man is currently in detention in view of extradition. If he had to make during his hearing for his extradition, the FOJ may approve, without delay, in a simplified procedure for his extradition to France,” said a spokesman for the federal Office of Justice. However, he noted, “if he were to oppose his extradition, the FOJ will request the French authorities to send a formal extradition request”.

The French police was looking for Merouane Benahmed since the 8 September last. On this day, it was not presented to its judicial review while he was held point-four times per day at the local police station, which he considered inhuman. The former member of the GIA is then assigned to residence in Évron, near Laval, Mayenne. His wife and children reside in the paris region. The fugitive lived thus isolated in Mayenne, but his family was present with him on the eve of his disappearance.

Merouane Benahmed had been sentenced to ten years in prison in 2006 in the so-called case of “sectors chechens”, who were suspected to plan an attack against the Russian embassy in Paris. He had finally been released in 2011. The european Court of Human rights refused his extradition to Algeria, where he was sentenced to death in absentia, the man had been assigned in residence successively in several departments.

Attached by Le Figaro a fortnight ago, his lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre is disputing the term “leak” that characterized the behavior of his client. “Merouane Benahmed is sequestered in France since the end of his sentence, on 22 June 2010. The French authorities have first prohibited to live on the French soil, but afterwards he was prohibited to leave the territory of what is assigning it to a residence in six different cities. It is absurd,” judge said. The commission considers that several irregularities have taken place during this case, and “the only legal obligation of the French State was, therefore, to verify that it is leaving the territory because he is being held illegally by France”.


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