Paris police attacker had contacts with extremists

France's first national anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard (C), next to Head of the French judicial police Christian Sainte (L), speaking about an attack that killed 4 people in Paris last week. (AFP)
Updated 06 October 2019

Paris police attacker had contacts with extremists

  • Investigation had detected signs of 'latent radicalization' in the attacker
  • The killer identified only as Mickael H knifed four co-workers to death at the police headquarters in Paris

PARIS: France's anti-terrorism prosecutor said its investigation had detected signs of "latent radicalization" in the attacker who knifed four co-workers to death at the police headquarters in Paris this week.
The assailant, an IT worker at the headquarters, went on a rampage on Thursday, killing three police officers and an administrative worker, and wounding at least one other, before being shot dead by police.
Officials have not said there was a terrorism motive behind the attack, but handing a case to anti-terrorism prosecutors usually indicates a terrorism link is the focus of inquiries.
The anti-terrorism prosecutor, Francois Ricard, said his office had taken over the probe because of signs the crime was premeditated, of the attacker's desire to die and of the nature of injuries found on at least one of the victims.
"The context of latent radicalisation" and messages of exclusively religious character the attacker sent to his wife shortly before the crime were added factors, Ricard told a news conference.
The investigation also revealed contacts between the attacker and several individuals who are likely to belong to an Islamist Salafist movement, Ricard said.
The killer, 45, has been identified by officials only as Mickael H.
Ricard said that during a "deadly journey" the attacker first stabbed two police officers. A third police officer was killed in another office and an administrative worker died on the stairs.
The attacker was born on the French island of Martinique and had worked at the police headquarters for several years. He converted to Islam about 10 years ago, Ricard said.


Special court sets date for Musharraf treason verdict

Updated 06 December 2019

Special court sets date for Musharraf treason verdict

  • Ailing former army chief asks court to record his statement in Dubai

ISLAMABAD: The special court in Islamabad hearing the high treason case against Pakistan’s former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, said on Thursday that it would announce its verdict on Dec. 17.

The case has been in court for the past seven years, as Musharraf’s ill health has meant multiple adjournments.

The Islamabad High Court stopped the special court from pronouncing its verdict on Nov. 27. Musharraf plans to submit an application to the three judges of the special court requesting the bench to form a commission that can record his statement in a bid to stop the court from announcing its verdict, his lawyer Salman Safdar said on Thursday.

“President Musharraf has instructed me to file an application in the court for a commission on the next hearing of the case,” Safdar told Arab News.

The government’s prosecution team asked the court for time to prepare and present its argument at the next hearing.

Musharraf seized power in October 1999 by toppling the civilian government of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup. He remained in power until 2008.

When Sharif returned to power in 2013, he instituted a high treason case against Musharraf for subverting the constitution and imposing a state of emergency in November 2007. The case has been pending since December 2013. High treason is punishable by death or life imprisonment under Pakistani law.

Prosecutor Ali Zia Bajwa informed the court that he had received a 3,000-page record and it would take him time to go through all the documents before presenting his arguments.

“I want to go through the whole record before pleading the case,” Bajwa said, seeking “reasonable time” from the court to prepare. Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, head of the three-member bench, directed the prosecution team to give their final arguments on December 17.

Musharraf’s lawyer said it would be “unfair” if the court announced its verdict “without allowing me time to plead the case to prove my client’s innocence.”

“We hope the court will hear us in the next proceeding and constitute a commission to record General Musharraf’s statement,” he said.

The 76-year-old former military dictator is living in self-imposed exile in Dubai, where he was rushed to hospital on Monday.

He is Pakistan’s first army chief to be charged with treason. He has pleaded not guilty and dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

“I have fought wars for Pakistan and served my country for 10 years,” Musharraf said on Tuesday in a video message from his hospital bed, claiming that the case against him is “baseless” and that he is being victimized.

“Even my lawyer Salman Safdar is not being heard by the court,” he said. “As for me, a commission can come here, I can give them a statement.”

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