AUDIENCE Accused of having supplied a weapon to the author of the Nice attack, Ramzi Arefa is the only one who, in a state of legal recidivism, incurs a sentence of life imprisonment. No sign of radicalism was detected in him
At the Nice attack trial, before the Paris Special Assize Court — Francois Mori/AP/SIPA
- “I was a little jerk. My goal was to make money. Today, when I think about it, I'm ashamed “, justified Monday and Tuesday Ramzi Arefa, at the trial of the attack of July 14, 2016, assuring that he is ” not a terrorist “.
- This Franco-Tunisian of almost 28 years admits, without difficulty, having provided a weapon to Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel but vigorously denies, on the other hand, having heard of the intentions of the driver of the ram truck which made 86 dead.
Accused of providing a weapon to the author of the Nice attack, he is one of the three protagonists prosecuted for terrorist criminal association and the only one who incurs a prison sentence. perpetuity after a final sentence of ten years in prison for aggravated theft. “I was a little prick. My goal was to make money. Today, when I look back on it, I am ashamed,” Monday and Tuesday Ramzi Arefa, at the trial of the attack of July 14, 2016, assuring that he is “not a terrorist”.
Beard and brown hair cut short, the Franco-Tunisian who will celebrate his 28th birthday on November 28 admits, without difficulty, to having provided a weapon to his wife. Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel. On the other hand, he vigorously denies having heard of the intentions of the driver of the ram truck which caused 86 deaths and more than 450 injuries on the Promenade des Anglais. “When I found out what really happened, what the terrorist had done, I was shocked. very shocked by monstrosity of this horrible and atrocious act,” he said.
Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was “not a friend but a client”
À At the time, “I had just been released from prison,” he explains. Out of school From the 4th grade, he launched himself, like his older brothers, into the trafficking of cannabis and cocaine. “I didn’t realize the consequences of my actions. I was animated by easy money,” he insists. And like its big brothers, it begins to go back and forth in prison.
And his first meeting with Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel dates precisely from a period of incarceration, in October 2015. The future perpetrator of the attack delivers drinks to the Nice prison. Ramzi Arefa, then on semi-freedom, meets him, imagining that the delivery system could be a way to introduce drugs into prison.
Our file on the attack from Nice
Ça does not work. But, in February 2016, when he had just been released from prison, Ramzi Arefa saw the delivery driver again in his neighborhood. “He was not a friend but a client. I spoke to him as if a drug addict,” the courtyard. He sells her cannabis and cocaine. “One day he asked me a gun. I’ve been looking for a contact everywhere around me,” says Ramzi Arefa. “For me, it’s been an opportunity. news about making money.”
“That label of terrorist is a disgrace”
He contacts Artan Henaj, an Albanian, his cocaine supplier, also known to be an arms trafficker, another defendant. at the trial which will be heard on Thursday. “I made the transaction [for the sum of 1,400 euros], I never saw Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel again and a few days later, I was arrested,” summarizes Ramzi Arefa.
In prison since July 2016, the Franco-Tunisian claims to have matured: “Detention allowed me to evolve”. It’s in prison that he read his first book. “I am ready to assume my responsibilities but I am not a terrorist,” he insists. He would rather receive a harsh sentence for arms trafficking than a lighter sentence for terrorism, he said. “That terrorist label is a disgrace, the worst thing in the world.” The Radicality Assessment District (QER) of Fleury-Mérogis has not detected any no sign of radicalism his home. He has received no religious education and does not practice.
If he gets out of jail, he says he wants to take a marketing course and has the ambition to “ sell innovative toilets”. “In prison, I had plenty of time to reflect, to see my mistakes, like easy money. I prefer to struggle, not to go so fast and make my mother proud, to live honourably. Every day I try to become better,” before saying: “I grew up, I’m not a little jerk anymore.