Abdelkader Merah to be Charged with Complicity in Toulouse Killings

(Photo via le Journal du Dimanche Twitter feed Saturday, since removed)

Abdelkader Merah, brother of Mohamed Maher, who was killed in a police raid in Toulouse after confessing to the killing of Jewish students and their teacher and three French soldiers, was brought before a judge at the Palais de Justice in Paris early Sunday morning. He is expected to be charged with complicity in his brother's killings or criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist enterprise.

Abdelkader's wife, Yasmina Mesbah who was arrested with him, was released at 4:30 am today without charges, according to her lawyer. (Her name seems to be disappearing from news articles, here's another cached version.) Zoulhika Aziri, the mother of Abdelkader and Mohamed, was released from custody Saturday. She also won't face charges. [More...]

Abdelhader and Yasmina were flown from Toulouse to Paris yesterday for a final day of questioning at SDAT (the Anti-Terrorism unit in Levallois-Perret, Hauts-de-Seine.)

Abdelkader was not present during the killings, and insists he did not know of his brother's plan. But police say the two shared a 3 hour dinner Sunday night, the eve of the school killings. They also say he accompanied Mohamed to the scooter dealership on March 6 to inquire about removing the GPS chip (although the dealership's owner says only Mohamed was there.) The police also say Abdelkader was present when Mohamed stole the scooter (some news sources say he admitted the scooter allegations.)

Abdelkader was arrested at his home Wednesday, and under French law, he could be held 96 hours before being charged or released. No weapons or explosives were found at his home and nothing conclusive was found on either of the brother's computers.

It appears Mohamed acted alone, not on instructions from al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization.

Here's a bigger copy of the JDD Dimanche photo of Abdelkader Merah that was on its twitter feed yesterday, but seems to be gone now.

Another version here. Here's another photo:

Update: Contrary to early press reports citing an anonymous police source, Abdelkadar does not approve of what his brother did:

Abdelkader Merah has instructed his lawyer to make it clear he condemns what his brother has done.

Anne-Sophie Laguens, Abdelkader Merah’s lawyer, said: “There have been press leaks which are entirely false, in particular that Abdelkader Merah said he was proud of his brother’s actions. He wants today to convey that this is untrue.”

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    New techniques. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Sun Mar 25, 2012 at 08:10:37 AM EST
    Mohamed appears to be a textbook case of "under the radar lone terrorist, at least as far as obvious actions and interactions before the ACT itself.  No obvious cell or organizational ties within France.

    Of course some would say that going to Afghanistan, Pakistan or other such places should be enough to indicate additional surveillance is needed or there is a need for detainment and investigation.  Others might say that is going too far and assumptions shouldn't be made.

    He probably did have a "handler" who spoke only over a throwaway phone, and of course no voice or text messages.  

    Some would say ... (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Peter G on Sun Mar 25, 2012 at 05:51:55 PM EST
    "...that going to Afghanistan, Pakistan or other such places should be enough to indicate additional surveillance is needed or there is a need for det[ention] and investigation."  Others might realize that thousands of innocent, peace-loving and law-abiding people, in contrast with a handful of others, have emigrated from "such places" to France, to our country, and elsewhere, and sometimes want to travel to the old country to visit family members, to study, and for other good and legitimate reasons. Thus, more sensible and less prejudiced "[o]thers might say that is going too far and assumptions shouldn't be made."

    There seems to be some conflicting information (none / 0) (#3)
    by jawbone on Sun Mar 25, 2012 at 10:30:05 PM EST
    coming out about Merah.  In this blog post, the writer has found articles which state Mohammed Merah was never arrested and jailed in Afghanistan. One article stated he had been in jail in France during the time frame for the Afghan trip and jailing; however, that information subsequently was edited out.  

    I am not familiar with this blog, however, I was as perplexed as the writer about the changing stories about how Merah was killed.  I clearly recall when the report about his leap out the apartment window came out, with the implication being he fell to his death. Not likely since his apartment was on the ground level.  That later was clarified as police reported he was killed by a shot to the head...as he jumped out of his ground floor window.

    Strange.  One guy -- and hardened SWAT-type team members were so discombobulated they gave out differing stories? And were there no videos? Isn't that par for the course in such raids nowadays?

    It will be interesting to see what effect this situation does have on Sarkozy's election chances.

    And no leaked photos (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 01:06:55 AM EST
    of his body on the ground or being taken away. There are photos of them taking the wounded officers out on stretchers. And photos showing many bullet holes in the wall by the window. And yes, his apartment was on the first floor.

    Did he have his back to them as he jumped out the window or was he shooting at them as he ran backwards and fell out the window?  His body was riddled with bullets, but the ones that killed him hit him in the temple and stomach -- did they get him from the side?.

    A post-mortem on the Islamist serial killer who died in a siege in Toulouse revealed he suffered some 20 bullet wounds. Police officials last night said the body of Mohamed Merah (23) was riddled with bullets, but only two were fatal.

    He was killed by a bullet wound to the left temple and another to the abdomen. They said the other injuries were mainly to his arms and legs.

    They do gloss over that part and never get into much detail. Mostly they just say:

    "At the end, Mohammed Merah jumped out a window with a weapon in his hand, still firing," French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said. "He was found dead on the ground.

    I don't know how you jump out a window backwards while shooting -- If he had turned around to jump, the bullets would have him him in the back. So maybe he fell out the window since they had earlier blown the shutters off it.

    On the Afghanistan issue, in my earlier post and comments I noted the Telegraph said

    02.55 Mohammed Merah was NOT jailed in Afghanistan in 2007, his lawyer and an Afghan provincial officer have told Reuters. Christian Etelin, Merah's lawyer, said it wasn't possible as he had been serving a three year sentence in France at the time for robbery with violence. Kandahar prison chief Ghulam Faruq earlier claimed he had been detained in December 2007 over an alleged bomb plot in the region.

    and the Afghan denial:

    Reports that he escaped from a prison in Kandahar have turned out to be false, according to the official Kandahar Media Office's twitter feed. His lawyer from an earlier traffic case says he showed no signs of violence and did not seem fanatical when he represented him, but that was before he went to Afghanistan. His friends say he was not militant and was at a nightclub just days ago.