In Paris, France, the trial against Abelkader Merah (35), the brother of Mohammed Merah, is entering its fourth week. Mohammed Merah, the 23-year-old gunman who killed seven people, including three Jewish children, a teacher and three paratroopers whom he shot in the back, was shot and killed by French police after a 32-hour stand-off in 2012. His brother, Abelkader, is on trial for complicity in the killings. Special attention has been given to his mother’s, Zoulikha Aziri, testimony, which was given on 18 October.
— France Paris News (@franceparisnews) 19 oktober 2017
According to France 24, Zoulikha Aziri struggled on Wednesday, not hesitating to aim accusations at her younger son, in a fierce, but rambling and implausible defence of her elder son. Her testimony provoked anger with the family of her sons’ victims and incidents with the defence counsels. At the outset, she declared:
“Abdelkader has nothing to do with what has happened, what Mohammed did, it’s very serious, but he is dead. (…) Abdelkader was normal, he didn’t have problems. Mohammed was crazy (…) from when he was very small, he had problems. He said to me:’I have a voice in my head.’“
Aziri continued to offer contradictory evidence, aimed at putting the blame on Mohammed, in an attempt to weaken the evidence against Abdelkader. This attempt was undermined however, by a relative of the Merah family saying on Tuesday, that Zoulikha Aziri had said after the attacks that she was proud of her son “bringing France to its knees.”
Painting an idyllic picture of Abdelkader, she said he was “gentle at home” and practised “a normal Islam” and not a violent form of Salafism. She consistently blamed Mohammed for everything, including organising for an acquaintance of her sons, Sabri Essid, to go to Syria – even though Abdelkader has already admitted to organising the trip. When confronted with her virulent anti-Semitism, which was reported on by the ex-girlfriend of her oldest son, she defends herself by saying:
“All my doctors are Jews,“
inviting sneers from the public galleries. Summing up Aziri’s testimony, Géraldine Berger-Stenger, defence counsel for one of the civil parties, said that:
“She was lying through her teeth, covering for Abdelkader and putting the blame on Mohamed Merah.“
Dupond-Moretti, cousel for the accused, tried to defend her by saying she is “both the mother of the accused and the mother of a dead son“, which earned him the vocal protests of the galleries. The brother of Imad Ibn Ziaten, one of the paratrooper victims, shouted:
“Shut up! You are not ashamed! You are wicked people, you are pieces of shit, you are assassins!“
before being escorted out of the court by a relative.
None of this should come as a surprise though, as the third, estranged, brother, Abdelghani Merah had earlier said, in an interview with Europe 1 Radio, that
“my brother wanted to bring France to its knees. (…) There is in this doctrine a point of no-return. Abdelkader Merah has long since crossed it. (…) If he ever gets out he will remain a danger to France.“
Mohamed Sifaoui (see video above), who has made a documentary on the family, says he was present when Zoulikha Aziri claimed that:
“Arabs are born to hate the Jews.“
and also that
“the prophet permits the killing of Jewish children.“
Sentiments that, when reported upon, appalled the audience at the hearing and caused bad blood with the civil parties involved, according to French newspaper La Voix du Nord.