Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Extortion and threats : ten years in prison for Youssouf Fofana – The Point

The former head of the “gang of barbarians”, Youssouf Fofana, was sentenced Tuesday to ten years in prison for dozens of attempts of extortion and threats of death between 2002 and 2004, during a trial where he made only one brief appearance. The court has attached the penalty of a period of safety two-thirds. He followed the requisitions of the public prosecutor, who expressed his disappointment in front of a “hearing” could have been “capital” to understand “the dynamics” that led to Fofana’s business extortion of funds to the assassination in February 2006 of Ilan Halimi. “But, Mr. Fofana was cut short at the legal debate”, he lamented. “It was interesting to find out what had become the hangman of Ilan Halimi, the answer is there : it has not changed”, ruled the magistrate, referring to an individual’s “unwavering determination”, “obsessed by money”. “I never said that an accused person was monstrous, but what he has done is monstrous,” he started.

Youssouf Fofana was convicted in July 2009 for the murder of Ilan Halimi to the criminal reclusion to perpetuity with a safety period of 22 years. In this respect, he may file a request for release in 12 years, in 2028. The new sentence does not alter this calendar. The court continued, this time for attempted extortion accompanied by threats of death committed between April 2002 and October 2004, to the prejudice of 42 persons, heads of businesses and personalities.

“Trader of the terror”

While the presence of the accused at his trial was uncertain, Fofana took place Tuesday in the dock, securely framed by four gendarmes. Questioned about his identity, the ex-chief of the “gang of barbarians”, with a shaved head, thin beard, wearing a suit jacket over a shirt with diamonds to let go : “I am a trader of terror”, before specifying that he wanted to keep the silence. He then attended the air bantering, dodelinant of the head to the read the order of the investigating judge, summarizing the facts and the evidence of the two victims. Echoing the word an hour and a quarter later, he threw the chair, taken aback : “I would like to from. I’m asking you politely.” “But, from where ?” “In detention”, he answered with aplomb. “Well, take Mr. Fofana,” ordered the magistrate, who then decided to shorten the trial, initially planned to be until Friday.

On the 13 victims, civil parties at the time of appraisal, only two were present at the hearing. “They have all refused to “put a finger in the gears” of the blackmail of Fofana and now understand (following the murder of Halimi, editor’s note) what they have escaped,” explained the prosecutor. “We had to be there to say things”, has justified Me Elias Stansal, lawyer of one of the victims, Joseph Cohen Sabban. “If Fofana was sent to my client, it is because he is a lawyer, well-known but also because he is jewish. This is the brand Fofalienne to mix the crapulerie to anti-semitism.” Among the best known victims include the former president of Doctors without borders, Rony Brauman, the former head of Arte, Jérôme Clément, or the founder of Radio Nova, Jean-François Bizot, who has since died. There are also heads of large companies as well as the presidents of the executive boards of BMW or Conforama, the CEO of Toshi ba France, GOAL, IBM France, Rolex, Reebok France or Whirlpool…

blackmail was done by mail, sometimes accompanied by a photo or a video showing a hooded man or with a djellaba and headgear and armed with a rocket launcher or a grenade, posing in front of their home to intimidate them. In one case, the request is assigned to the independence movement corsica Armata Corsa, in another to the French branch of the Front for the liberation of Palestine (FLP), in a third Mafia K’1 Fry, a collective of rappers. It will have to wait for the investigation on the kidnapping of Ilan Halimi for these cases dispersed to be allocated to Fofana because of the proximity of operating modes.


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