The public prosecutor of the national anti-terrorism (Pnat) announced on Tuesday requested the removal of nine people before the assize court specially composed of Paris, which is competent in matters of terrorism, in the investigation into the bombing of Nice.
On July 14, 2016, evening peak hours and fireworks on the promenade des Anglais in Nice, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian 31-year-old took to the wheel of a rental truck 86 lives, children, families and foreign tourists, in 4 minutes, before being shot dead by the security forces.
Conspiracy to a terrorist criminal
This trial, if any, on which the final decision is now up to judges investigating the anti-terrorism, does not therefore relate to. The main issue is therefore whether the respondent had knowledge of the project of death of the assailant, however, all deny having been aware of it, and the investigation has not provided clear evidence to the contrary.
For the three main suspects, Mohamed G., Ramzi A. and Chokri C., the Pnat requires the abandonment of prosecution for “complicity in murder” : he wants them to be only considered, with a fourth, Hamdi Z., for “conspiracy to a terrorist criminal.” The magistrates have gathered evidence that the first three were either mounted in the truck rental, or had been informed of the projects of lease, or were affected by an SMS and a voice message of Lahouaiej-Bouhlel dating back to the evening of the attack, evoking a supply of arms.
The Pnat request for referral before the court of assizes special of five other suspects, Artan H., Enkeledja Z., Maksim C., Brahim T., and Endri E. for the supply of the weapon to Mohamed Lahaoueij-Bouhlel. Four of them had been indicted for terrorist offences, but the prosecutor’s office “considers that(they) were not aware of the destination of the weapon he is alleged to have provided” to the author of the attack. According to the public prosecutor, the facts need to be re-qualified in common law concerning them.
The four suspects are currently under judicial control, the other four are in pretrial detention, while a ninth, Endri E., the subject of an arrest warrant. A tenth respondent, committed suicide in prison.
Steps multiple to rent a truck, locations on the pedestrian part of the “Prom” in order to multiply the victims : the evidence from the investigation supports the nature premeditated the attack on the promenade of the English, but his mobile remains uncertain.
The author had shown recent signs, before the attack, of religiosity or even attraction to radical islamism. But Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was unknown of the information and the investigators did not find any act of allegiance to the organization-jihadist islamic State, or any evidence of any involvement of the group.
“A crucial step”
“The Pnat does not take its responsibility when a non-place is necessary”, said the lawyers of Mohamed G., My William Bourdon and Vincent Brengarth, so that the investigation “has demonstrated conclusively the complete absence of knowledge by our client intentions Lahouaiej-Bouhlel”.
“It is a step in a complex case, but this is a crucial step. The Pnat has conducted a case by case analysis of the role of each of the 9 put in a review and it is always the sign of a good justice. We are now awaiting the final order of the investigating judges and we are hoping for a trial by 2021,” responded Me Eric Morain, the lawyer of the Fenvac, the main association of the victims.