Muhammad Usman’s lawyer debunks ‘fourth terror commando myth’ in Paris attacks | Paris attacks trial

Pakistani Muhammad Usman was to be part of a fourth commando that would cause death and destruction in Paris on November 13, 2015, in addition to the commandos in the Bataclan, the terraces and at the Stade de France. At least that’s the thesis the prosecutors put forward last week, but Usman’s lawyer dismantled it during his plea on Wednesday.

Like Algerian Adel Haddadi, Usman had left Syria in October 2015, but the two had failed to reach Paris by mid-November. “They should have been part of the terror commandos,” prosecutor Camille Hennetier said last week, when she demanded 20 years in prison against the two men. “That was their mission, which they had accepted.”

Usman’s lawyer, Edward Huylebrouck, criticized the prosecutor’s conditional language in his plea. The lawyer acknowledged that Usman had indeed gone to Syria in the summer of 2015 to join IS. “But at the time when the date of November 13 was chosen, or the Stade de France was chosen as a target, Usman was in the middle of the Aegean Sea and had no chance of getting to Paris in time,” said Huylebrouck. .

The lawyer regrets that since the arrest of Usman and Haddadi in a refugee camp at the end of 2015, “the myth of the fourth commando” has been repeated. And that while Usman was in Slovenia on the evening of November 13. “If they needed Usman, if he was expected that way, they would have gone looking for him,” the plea said.

The investigation revealed that Salah Abdeslam, the sole survivor of the terror commandos, traveled back and forth to Hungary and Germany several times before the attacks to transfer a dozen jihadists from Syria to Brussels. The lawyer suggested that Usman and Haddadi were not part of that priority group.

“If we look at the time it took the two to get to Austria from Greece – 17 days – we can’t say they were in a rush,” said Huylebrouck. “That’s a snail’s pace.”

Muhammad Usman. Defendant at the trial of the November 13, 2015 attacks in Paris © RV

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