Monday, 11 June 2012

Father of Toulouse killer sues

The father of Mohammed Merah filed a lawsuit Monday here alleging murder in the killing by police of his son in March in southern France, the father's lawyer said.

Relatives of Islamist extremist Mohammed Merah attend the burial of his body in a Toulouse cemetery.

"I can confirm to you that this afternoon that there has been a lawsuit against unnamed persons for murder with aggravating circumstances concerning those who gave the orders at the top of the police," said Isabelle Courtant-Peyre, a member of the legal team representing Mohamed Benalel Merah.
The legal team that filed the complaint is led by Algerian lawyer Zahia Mokhtari, she said.
Mohammed Merah was killed March 22 by police after a 32-hour standoff at the apartment in Toulouse where he was holed up.
He was wanted for the killings of three French paratroopers, a rabbi, and three Jewish children ages 4, 5, and 7. Two other people were seriously wounded in shootings blamed on him.
Benalel Merah had said in March that he was planning to sue because France could have captured his son alive, but instead chose to shoot him.
"I totally condemn what my son Mohammed Merah did in France," he said at the time, adding that he believed his son must have been tricked.
Merah was tracked down by police 10 days after the first shooting on March 11 and fatally shot as the standoff came to a bloody end.
Then-President Nicolas Sarkozy rejected Merah's father's accusation that the killing could have been avoided.
"As head of state, I would have preferred that Mohammed Merah be arrested alive. The police did a remarkable job, and I consider that any debate about that question is shameful," he told BFM-TV.
Merah's uncle, meanwhile, has denied statements made by French authorities that Merah was an al Qaeda sympathizer and that he had traveled to Afghanistan or Pakistan to train to use arms.
Azizi, the uncle, said Merah was a victim of an extremist group that he got to know while he was in jail.
Authorities have said they placed Merah, a petty criminal, under surveillance after he visited Pakistan and Afghanistan. Critics have asked why he was not being more closely watched.
He said that he had attended an al Qaeda training camp, according to Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, and was on the U.S. no-fly list for that reason, a U.S. intelligence official said.
Al Jazeera received video of the shootings but chose not to broadcast or distribute it. The video of the shootings on March 11, 15 and 19 was apparently recorded by a camera around the gunman's neck.

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