Trèbes attack trial: who are the suspects?

This Monday, January 22, 2024, seven individuals are being tried at the Paris Assizes for their proximity to Radouane Lakdim, the author of the terrorist attacks in Trèbes and Carcassonne in 2018.

Trèbes attack trial: who are the suspects?

This Monday, January 22, 2024, seven individuals are being tried at the Paris Assizes for their proximity to Radouane Lakdim, the author of the terrorist attacks in Trèbes and Carcassonne in 2018.

On March 23, 2018, Radouane Lakdim, a 25-year-old S-listed individual known to the intelligence services for his strong radicalization, murdered four people in a parking lot in the city of Carcassonne and in the Super U of the small neighboring town of Trèbes in the Auda. The terrorist is responsible for the deaths of four people. Two of them were aged over 60, another was a supermarket employee and the fourth was none other than police officer Arnaud Beltrame. The latter was assassinated by the terrorist after taking the place of the cashier taken hostage by Radouane Lakdim. The jihadist terrorist was shot dead by GIGN officers a few moments after the death of the gendarme.

Six years after the events, seven people, six men and one woman, are on trial starting this Monday at the Paris Assizes where the trial is expected to last five weeks. They were all part of the terrorist's entourage and came to his aid, each in their own way. Among the accused, Marine Pequignot, the terrorist's girlfriend at the time of the events. The young woman was 18 years old at the time. She herself converted to "jihadist ideology" since she was 16 and also on S file, she is on trial for "terrorist criminal association" for having knowledge of the possession of weapons at the terrorist's home and having been "informed of his plans to attack disbelievers in general" as specified by the investigating judges in their indictment order.

Also in the dock is the terrorist's brother-in-law, Ahmed Arfaoui. Aged 29, he appears in court for "cleaning" the home of Radouane Lakdim's parents where the latter resided, before a police search and leaving the premises with a large bag with which he allegedly transported weapons.

The third accused is named Réda El Yaakoubi and is accused of having "given the criminal association that he led the character of a terrorist criminal association". Indeed, this individual is known as the “boss” of the town of Ozanam in the city of Carcassonne. Also president of the city's football club, he is said to be in charge of the underground economy circulating in the neighborhood. According to the investigating magistrates, the terrorist's involvement in this trafficking network would have allowed him to earn money and obtain weapons.

The only detainee among the seven accused, Samir Manaa would be the terrorist's closest friend and is therefore accused of having been fully aware of the dangerousness and extensive radicalization of Radouane Lakdim. The 28-year-old man from Carcassonne would have accompanied Radouane Lakdim to a hunting and fishing store a fortnight before the events, where he would have obtained the dagger with which he attacked Arnaud Beltrame. Samir Manaa's older brother, Sofiane Manaa, is also on trial for "illegal possession of weapons".

In a different register, Sofian Boudebbouza is accused of having provided moral support to Radouane Lakdim. He would have notably supported his murderous project via a Facebook discussion. This accused has already been convicted of radicalization. He was tried in 2017 by the children's court for trying to reach the Iraqi-Syrian zone. The seventh accused is a childhood friend of Radouane Lakdim. Baghdad Haddaoui is on trial for "non-denunciation" of a terrorist act. This relative of the terrorist would indeed have been aware of Radouane Lakdim's possession of weapons and the desire to carry out the act.

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