ACCOUNT Notorious drug trafficker, Artan Henaj, 44, is accused of supplying a pistol with five cartridges to Ramzi Arefa, who sold it to the terrorist
Artan Henaj (left), Chokri Chafroud (center) and Ramzi Arefa (right), in the dock — BENOIT PEYRUCQ
- The trial of the attack of July 14, 2016 on the Promenade des Anglais, in Nice, which should last until December 16, opened on September 5 before the court of foundations specially composed, in Paris.
- Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, the driver of the truck which drove into the crowd, killing 86 people and injuring 318, was shot dead by the police a few minutes after the tragedy. Eight other people – seven men and a woman, accused of having helped him to varying degrees in his project – are on trial.
- After four weeks devoted to the itinerary of the terrorist and the three defendants prosecuted for association terrorist criminals (AMT), the court began Thursday the interrogation of the four Albanians tried for simple offenses of common law. Artan Henaj, alias “Giovanni”, 44, is accused of having provided a pistol with five cartridges and a Kalashnikov without ammunition to Franco-Tunisian Ramzi Arefa.
At the Court of Assizes specially composed of Paris,
A former prison visitor, Patrick rubbed shoulders with Artan Henaj every Monday morning for three years, when the latter was incarcerated; at the Meaux-Chauconin prison center (Seine-et-Marne). “”He made connections,” 71 years old, called this Thursday at; testify to the specially composed court bar. With the accused, “a nice boy” then by ministerial cabinets, talked about a bit of everything. He assures her: he has nothing to do. see with the defendants tried for the attacks of November 13, whom he was also able to meet. Beige suit, red shirt, metallic glasses, he sums up in one sentence the reason for which the 44-year-old Albanian is on trial. “He has the illusion that you can make a living without working.” By engaging in small trades, he tries to “make easy money”.
In the dock, hands behind his back, Artan Henaj, cream-coloured sweater, short hair, imposing build, listens attentively to the translator who tells him the witness's words. Released from prison in 2020 and placed under judicial control in the case of the attack of July 14 in Nice, the one who called himself “Giovanni” should have appear free. But his old demons have caught up with him. And last May, it was condemned by the court of Montluçon (Allier) for drug trafficking in France. six years in prison and at a ban on French territory.
“It’s me who proposed; a Kalashnikov Ramzi”
Here it is. So back behind bars. “I didn’t expect this at all. ça, but really not”, breathes Patrick, visibly a little disappointed, pointing to “a total lack of responsibility”” and “immaturity” of the accused. “He got away with it. shot in the foot.” On leaving, Patrick, who stopped his activity as a prison visitor after having exercised it. eight years old, gives him a little wave.
Drug trafficker, but also arms trafficker. Artan Henaj is thus judged; for supplying the 7.65 pistol which was used by Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel on July 14, 2016 at the end of his run, before being shot down. The accused yet “never “met” the Tunisian, author of the massacre which left 86 dead and more than 400 injured on the Promenade des Anglais at the wheel of a ram truck. “I never sold him anything,” he insists. Indeed, he sold the weapon and five cartridges to Ramzi Arefa, the dealer of the terrorist he was supplying with cocaïne. Arefa, he adds, had entrusted him with need it “for personal use”.
In addition to the pistol, Artan Henaj provided him with a Kalashnikov “in poor condition” Ramzi Arefa lived. “It’s me who proposed a Kalashnikov Ramzi. He’s not asked me to. I don’t want to charge him,” to the court of “telling the truth” According to him, it was Aleksander Hasalla who provided him with these weapons. Real name Adriatik Elezi, this Albanian committed suicide. in June 2018 while in pre-trial detention.
“ Return to Albania”
In front of him, on the dock, sit Endri Elezi, Enkeledja Zace and Maksim Celaj, who appear free. They are tried, like him, for simple common law offences. Artan Henaj attempts to explain to the court the family ties that unite these four Albanians, implicated in this part of the case. There is “Gino”, actually Endri Elezi, the cousin of Adriatik Elezi. His ex-wife, Enkeledja Zace, aka “Leda”, who reportedly served “as an interpreter” between him and Ramzi Arefa. But also Maksim Celaj who, according to Artan Henaj, was recover the Kalashnikov hidden by Adriatik Elezi to bring it to his apartment.
After prison, Artan Henaj wants to “return to Albania”. It happened a bit by chance in France, in 2014 or 2015, “with a dream but it broke,” he claims. “”That's good, you've been condemned to a ban on French territory,” retorts the president, Laurent Raviot. The interrogations of the other Albanians and the examination of the case of the eighth accused, the Tunisian Brahim Tritrou, “a frequentation” d’Artan Henaj, tried; in his absence, must continue until tuesday. Then it will be the turn of the pleadings of the lawyers of the civil parties to; starting Wednesday.