Detained French Terror Suspect 'Knew Nothing' of Charlie Hebdo Attack Plans

Crime | January 18, 2015, Sunday // 12:14|  views

Fritz-Joly Joachin (R). Photo by BGNES

Fritz-Joly Joachin, a French citizen who was detained in Bulgaria this week while trying to make it into Turkey, said the terror act at Charlie Hebdo weekly's offices last week had caught him by surprise.

Joachin, who earlier admitted to having known the Kouachi brothers, the perpetrators who were killed by police, said he had not seen them since July, but had spoken to Cherif Kouachi over the phone two or three times last year, according to the Bulgarian National Radio.

He described them as "kind people" and made clear he had known nothing of their plot.

Commenting on French authorities' allegations that he was a jihadist trying to bring his child to Syria for training among militants, he explained: "I am a Muslim and sometimes I try to be a practicing Muslim. I am not a righteous Muslim. I also commit sins. If I were radical, I would have been in Paris at that time."

A French citizen of Haitian origin, Joachin is currently under arrest in the southern Bulgarian town of Haskovo, where he is facing a court ruling on extradition. There are a total of two European Arrest Warrants (EAW) - one on attempting to abduct his child and the other on terrorism.

Haskovo's regional court rejected on Friday the request based on the first count, saying there was no punishment for such a crime under Bulgaria's legislation.

The second ruling is due on Tuesday. According to the European arrest warrants against Joachin issued by a Paris court, he has to be extradited to France to face charges of “participation in an organized crime group whose aim was the organization of terrorist acts."

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Tags: Kouachi, Fritz-Joly Joachin, extradition, european arrest warrant, Charlie Hebdo, turkey


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