Lawyer David Andic: Paris massacre was a planned, professional terrorist attack
The lawyer of the Democratic Kurdish Council of France attacked in Paris on 23 December, David Andic, calls the shooting a "planned, professional terrorist attack."
On 23 December 2022, KCK Executive Council member Emine Kara (Evîn Goyî), Kurdish cultural movement member Mîr Perwer (Mehmet Şirin Aydın) and Kurdish activist Abdurrahman Kızıl were murdered in an armed attack on the Ahmet Kaya Kurdish Cultural Centre in Paris. The killer, 69-year-old William Malet, was arrested and charged with "premeditated racially motivated murder and attempted murder targeting a specific ethnic origin, as well as possession of unlicensed weapons". David Andic, the lawyer of the attacked Democratic Kurdish Council of France (CDK-F), which was attacked in Paris, pointed out in an interview with ANF the many unanswered questions in this attack and expressed fears that evidence was manipulated.
There are many question marks surrounding the murder of the three Kurdish activists in Paris on 23 December. Why do you call the attack classified by the prosecution as a "racist attack" a "terrorist attack"?
Even without reference to the open questions, a racist attack can be defined as an "assassination". The Criminal Code provides that an assassination can be committed individually or collectively. There is also Article 421-1 of the Criminal Code, which defines terrorism. In other words, any intentional individual or collective attack on the life of a person can constitute an act of terrorism. The issue at stake here (in relation to the massacre of 23 December) concerns the intentions of the person. But one cannot rely solely on the statements of the alleged perpetrator. Even if there is no group or state behind him, he alone can carry out an assassination, a terrorist attack. What we do not understand in this case is why the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor's Office (Parquet National Antiterroriste, PNAT) has not launched an investigation.
Is the approach the same when Kurds carry out a protest action?
Let me give you an example: when Kurdish youths wrote graffiti on the Turkish embassy in Boulogne-Billancourt (a suburb of Paris) and set off fireworks, the PNAT automatically launched an investigation. This is considered a "terrorist incident". Although the Kurdish Democratic Council of France was the target of three assassinations and several assassination attempts, the question of the "terrorist" nature of the attack is not even raised. First, the public prosecutor's office starts an investigation and then it is said that "the definition could change". This is what is worrying. The PNAT did not take the matter into its own hands, but it was directly pointed out that it was a racist attack and there was no terrorist intent. In reality, the investigation was approached the wrong way round. When Kurds write slogans at the Turkish consulate, the PNAT is immediately mobilised because it is a terrorist act and the secret services are activated, but when a person attacks the CDK-F and murders three Kurds, a few days before the anniversary of the murder of three Kurdish women in the centre of Paris (10 years ago), the PNAT does not take action. And it wasn't just anyone who was targeted. Emine Kara, also known as Evîn Goyî, is an official representative, a fighter. Yet this was treated like third-rate news. We do not know if the intelligence services are investigating this matter. What is clear, however, is that the resources mobilised against graffiti and fireworks were not used here.
This has a political background, doesn't it?
I can only put the facts on the table. There is a difference in treatment. When Turkish interests are targeted, the PNAT automatically takes action, but when Kurdish interests are targeted in France, it is treated like a third-rate story.
What information is there about the perpetrator? He was already known and in custody. How was he dealt with after his detention?
Undoubtedly, this action raises questions. There were eleven days between his release (on 12 December) and the assassination. When he was arrested [after the assassination], it was decided that he "might" not be fit to be detained. One has to wonder whether he was sane enough eleven days before [the assassination] to be released by the judges. There is a mistake somewhere, either before or after. Eleven days before the assassination, he was released by the French judiciary. Eleven days later, he set out to murder three people and try to kill more. There is also no mention that he was incarcerated during his earlier detention. At no time during his one-year detention was he in a psychiatric ward. No one spoke of him having mental problems. But in the French newspapers, this card was then played. People began to say that he was unstable. Even his arrest [after the assassination] was suspended for that reason. Although he was eventually returned to his cell, the fact that his detention was interrupted shows that everything was done to show that his condition was pathological.
He himself stated during his questioning by the prosecution that he was a "pathological racist". Isn't it strange that a mentally unstable person would make such a clear statement?
Yes, he himself said he was a pathological racist. In other words, there is a patient who defines himself as a patient. It is remarkable that he even uses the term "pathological hatred". It seems that he has been well counseled in this regard. As a result, we are dealing with someone who was in good mental health for eleven days and never mentioned his pathology. However, as soon as he gets arrested, he talks about his "pathological hatred" and says he is sick. In other words, he is healthy enough to be released under judicial control, but when it comes to answering questions in detention, he goes crazy.
Is that credible?
That is how he defines himself, and this statement runs like a red thread through the media. I don't believe in the words of a murderer. If someone wants to believe the words of a murderer, that is his business. I am a criminal lawyer. I have defended many people, including murderers. I can say, even as a lawyer, I don't believe it. I always have reservations. He is not a sick person because he was sent back to prison after being re-examined in a psychiatric hospital. It was decided that he was fit for questioning and should be brought before a forensic doctor. He will do anything to make himself appear ill. His lawyer would do anything to make him look sick. You want people to believe that a sick person has done something crazy.
But there are dark stains in his past, especially his prison time. Is that right?
There are a lot of dark spots. Who was he in prison with? That's why we want the PNAT to investigate. The PNAT is familiar with such investigations. We haven't had access to the file yet, but here's what we want to know: Who was he in prison with? Did he go out in the yard? With whom did he have communal activities? Did he work and, if so, with whom? Who else was in his cell?
There are also unanswered questions about the eleven days after his release ...
Who did he meet with after his release from prison? Who did he have relations with before he went to prison? These are legitimate questions that we are asking. This person, who was released under judicial control when he was in a perfectly sane state of mind, has gone too crazy to be tried today. If this is so, then it is necessary to clarify what happened during those eleven days.
An investigation into an attack in 2021 also proved problematic ...
As far as we can see, the first investigation against him was a bit sloppy. In other words, the attack was treated with a certain disdain. I have heard that even the migrants (who were attacked) were detained. [On 8 December 2021, he had seriously injured two people with a sword in a camp of migrants. Those attacked in that incident were also arrested and volunteer members of non-governmental organisations who helped those attacked were fined]. We can say that he got off well in this incident.
There is testimony that the killer was dropped off in a car at the site of the 23 December massacre. Do you have any information that can confirm this?
There was such testimony, but there were also other testimonies that said the opposite, that the murderer had come on foot. There is only one witness statement that he came by car.
Does it make a difference whether he came on foot or not?
Even if he came on foot, this is a neighbourhood also called "Little Kurdistan" where there are dozens of Kurdish shopkeepers. There are dozens of people in each shop. When he walks there, he passes an African restaurant, an Asian restaurant and an Arabic grocery shop, where there are many people right in front of him and they are much more visible. He also passes Kurdish restaurants and cafés. But he doesn't attack anyone there. He targets the members of the CDK-F first.
Are you saying that it was a planned attack?
He executed her. When he attacked Evîn Goyî, he also shot her in the head. This was an execution. It was a planned execution. In any case, the indictment already said that it was a "pre-planned attack". That is why we speak of an "assassination". Otherwise, we would speak of murder, and if it is planned, we call it an "assassination". We can clearly see that this is the work of a professional. He comes here, he has a mission. He targets the CDK-F first. Passing restaurants and shops that are full, he heads for the CDK-F, a centre that is almost empty at this point, but where an important meeting is scheduled. The meeting had been postponed by an hour at the last minute. What a coincidence! Normally, a lot of people would have been there at that time for the important meeting. If the meeting had not been postponed, many people would have come. So when this person comes there, he specifically targets CDK-F.
Isn't it strange what the murderer said in his interrogation about the reasons for his actions against Kurds?
When asked "Why the Kurds?" he replied: "It's true that they fought against ISIS, but instead of executing them [ISIS], they arrested them." That makes no sense. This is absurd. Despite such absurd claims, they try to make us believe that he did all this because he is a racist. What he says is not consistent. What he is trying to get at with these statements is this: "I am a racist, this is pathological, this is not my fault." Perhaps when he was arrested, he deliberately stated that he was ill so that he could be hospitalised. But then we saw that he was quickly turned away. Less than 24 hours later, he was returned to his cell.
This motive is doubtful. Have French racists targeted Kurds so far?
The French extreme right has never explicitly targeted the Kurds. The French extreme right does not see the Kurds as an enemy.
Can this investigation be transformed into a terror investigation?
Just because the charge of "racist motive" was accepted does not mean that this definition will not change. For us, the problem is that this was not treated as a terror investigation from the beginning. Let me come back to our example: when the Turkish embassy was sprayed, PNAT initially launched an investigation, but when it came to the verdict, it was decided that it was not a "terrorist attack". In other words, they were only considered as young people who graffitied the Turkish embassy. Very often it ends up like that. The definition can change on the way to a verdict. But the problem is that the case is handled the other way round. In other words, you start from the principle that it is not a terrorist attack, and then even the Minister of Justice himself says that the definition could change. Why did PNAT not get involved immediately? PNAT is familiar with such investigations and has more resources.
What worries you about the fact that the investigation was not initiated by the PNAT?
Our fear is that evidence will disappear. In fact, we see in the press that, so far, the investigation is only being conducted on the basis of the perpetrator's statements. We therefore demand that the investigation be conducted by the National Counter-Terrorism Prosecutor's Office.
When looking at this case, do you see a connection with the assassination ten years ago?
Given the similarities between the first assassination ten years ago and the assassination a few days before the anniversary, this is a legitimate question. It is legitimate to ask whether there is a connection between these two events. The fact that CDK-F was targeted leads to such questioning.
Despite numerous documents and testimonies about the role of the Turkish secret service in the assassination ten years ago, there is impunity. Do you currently fear a similar outcome?
Undoubtedly, we have this concern. The spectre of the 2013 murders and the very long, arduous process and, above all, the imposition of a "state secret" on this case ultimately lead to the question of whether a foreign power is behind it. Now the public also knows that the Turkish secret service was involved in the attacks. There are many elements that prove this. If there was no such problem, why would it be called a "state secret"? If this case is marked as a "state secret", it means that there is information that should not be disclosed. It is not a simple case, there is something behind it. Lawyers have been fighting for ten years to have the "state secret" lifted. And yes, we are concerned that in this latest case, a whole part of the complex is being covered up. While the "racist" nature of the attack is being addressed, the terrorist nature is being sidelined. But I repeat again: a person can be both a racist and a terrorist. It can be a racist attack with a terrorist target. We consider this to be a terrorist attack. We do not understand the logic that when Turkish interests are targeted, anti-terrorist investigations are launched very easily, but when Kurds die, this does not happen.