Trial Exposes Ultra-Right Terrorism: Accused Admits Violent Plans

Four men from the neo-Nazi movement are tried this Monday by the Assize Court of Paris miners for terrorist criminal association.

At the opening of the first trial at the assizes for ultra-right terrorism, one of the main defendants admitted on Monday June 19 to having “considered plans for violence”, while ensuring that he would not have been able to “pass in action”. Four men from the neo-Nazi movement aged 22 to 28 are being tried by the Assize Court for Minors in Paris – one of them was a minor at the time of the events – for criminal association with terrorism.

This criminal hearing is a first for the ultra-right. Previous cases such as that of the Barjols or the small group OAS have been tried in recent years in the criminal court. According to the prosecution, the defendants, steeped in “far right neo-Nazi” ideology, participated in a private forum on Discord messaging named “Project WaffenKraft” (firepower), created by Julien (first name changed) , 17 years old at the time.

“Terrorist projects”

According to the judges, the discussions had “very quickly drifted towards the development of terrorist projects under the impetus of Alexandre Gilet”, the “most radical and most motivated” of the group. In addition to online discussions, the investigation revealed weapon purchases, including three semi-automatic rifles, searches for information on potential targets such as Parisian mosques or the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF ) and a meeting to practice shooting in the Tours region, in the summer of 2018.

In the writings of Alexandre Gilet, then a volunteer deputy gendarme in the Grenoble region, messages in which he welcomed the actions of the “crusader Breivik”, in reference to the Norwegian right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik who had killed 77 people in July 2011. The investigators also found an unfinished document, “Reconquista Europe – Crossed Operation”, “which seems to announce an attack for November 13, 2018″, five years after the attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis, and say they want to target places frequented by Islamists” and “the Communist Marxist traitors”.

“Racist and anti-Semitic discussions”

“I have a moment in my life when I was radicalized” following the Islamist attacks of 2015, admitted Alexandre Gilet from the box of the accused. “I considered projects of violence. But I did not feel psychologically able to take action, ”added the former volunteer gendarme, in a black t-shirt, goatee and wick on the side. His three co-accused, who appear free under judicial supervision, admit less involvement.

Julien, 22 today, in a white t-shirt and sneakers, thus evokes “racist and anti-Semitic discussions” but assures that he did not want to “take part in actions”. “I never wanted to hurt anyone,” said Gauthier Faucon, a 25-year-old student in a blue suit and white shirt. Evandre Aubert, 28, admits “having participated in discussion forums on the internet” but claims to have had “no terrorist intention”. “I tried to prevent it from happening”, even advances the accused, beard and blue shirt, student and night watchman in a hotel.

Closing of the camera

At the opening of the trial, the president of the court, Christophe Petiteau, pronounced a lifting of the closed hearing, which is normally the rule at the assizes of minors, after a request to this effect from the general counsel. Public opinion “deserves to be informed of the reality of this threat (…) new, worrying, growing which is that of mass killings”, had argued the representative of the public ministry, Olivier Dabin. Julien’s lawyer, Me Modestie Corde, opposed this publicity of the proceedings, indicating that he was “certainly major” today but that he suffered from psychological “pathologies” which made him “a vulnerable person” .

Several associations joined as civil parties at the opening of the hearing, including the French Association of Victims of Terrorism (AFVT) and organizations mentioned as possible targets of the defendants in the case: CRIF and LICRA. Former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon did the same, through his lawyer. The trial is due to last until June 30.

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