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France

'Paris shooter' maintains silence under questioning

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-11-22

Abdelhakim Dekhar, the shooter who evaded Paris police during a week-long manhunt across the French capital, has refused to answer any questions since he was arrested on Wednesday night.

Paris shooting suspect Abdelhakim Dekhar maintained his right to remain silent during his first day of questioning, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Abdelhakim Dekhar, 48, was apprehended on Wednesday evening at the end of a massive manhunt following a shooting at the left-wing newspaper Libération that left a photographer's assistant seriously injured, and separate incidents where shots were fired at the headquarters of one of France’s largest banks, Société Générale, and at popular TV news station BFMTV.

Dekhar is being held on charges of attempted murder and kidnapping, after hijacking a motorist’s car.

Although the police say he took an overdose in an apparent suicide attempt before he was captured, the Paris prosecutor on Thursday said that he was fit for questioning.

However, his lawyer Me Rémi Lorrain told reporters, “Because he does not have access to his case files, he has opted for the time being to exercise his right to remain silent.”

Late on Thursday Paris prosecutor François Molins gave police an extra 24 hours to keep Dekhar in custody before he is brought before a court.

Motive remains unclear

When police finally apprehended Dekhar on Wednesday they found a number of undated letters on the car seat next to him in which he attempted to justify his actions, Molins said at a press conference on Thursday.

The letters denounce capitalism and speak of "a plot aimed at the return of fascism in the media, in banks, in the policy on suburbs", Molins stated.

Dekhar also accused journalists "of being paid to feed lies to citizens" and slammed, what he called, the "dehumanisation" of people living in the France’s often troubled public housing districts.

Molins significantly said that the letters, “merit being shown to a psychiatrist".

One of the letters mentioned Libya, Syria and the situation in the Arab world, news channel BFMTV reported.

Dekhar lived in London

On Friday it emerged that Dekhar, who previously spent four years in jail for his part in a “Bonnie and Clyde” multiple murder case that terrified France in the mid-1990s, had been living in London for at least a decade.

The Times reported that he had initially moved to Ilford in east London in 2000 and married a Turkish student in Redbridge, northeast London, in February of that year.
Dekhar's sister, Farida Dekhar-Powell, lives in the commuter town of Shenfield, in Essex, southeast England, and is a French teacher, the London Evening Standard said.

"I stopped talking to him 20 years ago. He is not part of my life and that's how it stays," she told the newspaper.

Dekhar returned to France in July with the intention of staying for just one month, but never returned to the UK.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2013-11-22

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