On the second day of his interrogation, Mohamed Abrini had two adversaries: the investigation file and himself. He stumbled against the fortress of the former and bumped into its own walls. However, the accused was only to respond, this Wednesday, January 12, to a very short period of his biography, between early April and mid-August 2015. Four and a half months, a trip and many embarrassing questions.
When he left the Belgian prison in Forest on April 2, Mohamed Abrini had only one idea in mind, to join Syria. The project dates back to the fall of 2014, to the announcement of the death in combat of his little brother Souleymane, who had enlisted in the troops of the Islamic State (IS) organization under the orders of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the future operational chief of the attacks of November 13, 2015.
“My little brother was the cause of my repentance”, he had explained the day before before the Assize Court. On the occasion of a first release, in September 2014, the delinquent specializing in burglaries and future husband who only maintained episodic relations with religion had switched to radical Islam, feeding on propaganda videos alongside his childhood friends, Brahim and Salah Abdeslam.
Reincarcerated from December 2014 to April 2015, he does not read “Only one book, the Koran”. In June, he flew from Brussels to Istanbul, equipped with all the necessary contacts to then reach Rakka, the IS’s capital in Syria. From there, everything gets complicated.
Coincidences that weigh heavily
On the reason for this trip, Mohamed Abrini has kept repeating the same thing. “I wanted to go and meditate at my little brother’s grave. ” He always had, he said, “Intend to return” and moreover had his return ticket in his pocket. During the two weeks of his stay, he reunites with his friend from Molenbeek, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and shares the apartment of another future suicide bomber, Najim Laachraoui, the pyrotechnician of the Paris attacks, who will be detonated on March 22, 2016 in Brussels airport.
With the first, he assures, the discussion only bears “On what he was doing, that is to say humanitarian aid, fighting… He explained to me the journey of my little brother, how he was killed…”. With the second, he does not speak ” You’re welcome “. Mohamed Abrini however accepts the mission entrusted to him by Abaaoud, to return to Brussels, via a detour through England to recover a sum of money. “3,000 pounds [3 600 euros] », he said.
“Are you sure it was 3,000?” It seems a bit ridiculous, notes the chairman.
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