French gunman’s father to sue police

The father of Mohamed Merah, the Islamist gunman who killed seven people in southern France, has hired an Algerian lawyer to sue a French police unit over his son’s death, the lawyer told AFP.


“Mr. (Mohamed Benalal) Merah came to our office in Algiers yesterday to formally ask us to sue the French security services (RAID) for not having followed procedure during the attempt to arrest Mohamed Merah and his murder,” Zahia Mokhtari said.

“Mr. Merah thinks that his son was murdered. He has asked us to file a complaint against the French security services,” she added. “We will begin the procedure once the burial is completed.”

Algerian authorities have reportedly not yet agreed to a family request that Merah be buried in the north African country

Mokhtari explained that a convention signed between France and Algeria authorises lawyers to pursue cases in both countries.

Mokhtari is a well-known lawyer in Algeria, notably for having won a 2005 case in a German court on behalf of an Algerian man, Ibrahim Badaoui, who was accused of belonging to Al-Qaeda.

Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent, was killed by police on March 22 after a lengthy stand-off at his Toulouse apartment.

Merah’s father insisted Wednesday he would not “shut up” after saying he wanted to sue France over the death of his son.

The comment, reported in an Algerian Arab-language daily newspaper, came after French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe reacted angrily to the threat of a legal challenge.

“If I were the father of such a monster, I would shut my mouth in shame,” Juppe said.

When police surrounded Merah’s Toulouse apartment last week, the gunman fought off an initial assault and then, in a conversation with a police negotiator, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

He said he shot dead three soldiers in two separate attacks in Toulouse and nearby Montauban on March 11 and 15, then last Monday opened fire at a Jewish school in Toulouse, killing a 30-year-old teacher, his sons aged five and four, and a seven-year-old girl.