At the trial of the attacks of November 13, the failures of Mohamed Abrini

For Mohamed Abrini, there are two categories of people in Molenbeek (Belgium): those who have succeeded, and those who have failed, but the second is much more represented. ” Certainly, we can succeed, but if you look at the scale, it’s 20/80 “, He gauges, before ranking in these 80%.

In the life of this second child of six siblings, everything had started well. ” We did not come out of our mothers’ wombs with a Kalashnikov in our hands “, He blurted out this Tuesday, November 2 in the courtroom of the trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015, on the first day of a week dedicated to the personality examination of the accused.

→ READ. At the trial of the attacks of November 13, the life without asperities of Salah Abdeslam

In his loose white shirt, this 36-year-old Belgian describes “ a normal childhood as many families are lucky enough to have “. His story resonates with that of his lifelong friend, Salah Abdeslam, heard just before him on Tuesday. The two grew up in the Brussels suburbs, in Molenbeek, like several of the defendants in the V13 case.

Several stays in prison

Studies in welding mechanics, fifteen years of club football. Then “ school failure, sports failure, checkmate what He breathes in his slight Belgian accent, nervously banging his fist on the table.

Abrini, we nicknamed him Spiderman, then Brioche. He no longer knows why. Then we called it “Brink’s”. There, in reference to the car dealership coffers he burglarized. Because when he comes of age, everything stalls. Six days before his 18th birthday, he entered prison for the first time. A car theft and break-in. What follows is a process that can be summed up in the words of President Jean-Louis Périès: “ You get out of prison, you work, you commit offenses, you come home, it feels like you didn’t really have a goal between 2003 and 2014.

He does open a sandwich shop, ” but the basis of money is not clean money “. ” It remains a failure », He notes. From this money that comes from thefts, he decides to take advantage. It’s here ” vida loca », In the words of his lawyer. He goes on trips abroad between his stays in prison, buys clothes, plays in casinos, a lot, so much so that it has become ” a sickness “. He sometimes spends € 4,000 a day, he says.

Molenbeek and departures to Syria

Nothing, so far, which does not prefigure its presence in the box of the accused of a terrorism trial. The tipping point is the departure and then the death of his little brother Soulaimane in Syria in 2014, in the ranks of Daesh. Mohamed Abrini says he learned of his death a week before the end of a ten-month prison sentence.

When I get out of prison, my ward is empty. Many people, including friends, have left for Syria. I see the photo of my little brother with a hole in his head. I don’t want to do anything anymore except go to Syria », He admits.

→ MAINTENANCE. “The jihadists are leading this fight to recover a new identity”

This is what he does, for ten days in the summer of 2015, but this stay is not mentioned at the hearing on Tuesday: the court is not examining for the moment the facts for which the accused appear but only their life course, outside religion.

Mohamed Abrini then found a new nickname: it will be “Abu Yahya”, the kunya (fighter’s name) of his brother Soulaimane. If he is in the box, it is because he is accused of having participated in the rental of apartments and cars used by members of the November 13 commando team.

“Death convoy”

He was also part of the ” death convoy ”Who traveled to the Paris region from Belgium on November 12. During the night, he was the only one to turn around, in a taxi, a few hours before the start of the attacks.

We find him on March 22, 2016 on the surveillance cameras of Zaventem airport, where he abandons his suitcase without triggering the explosives it contains, unlike the two terrorists who accompany him.


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