The Paris Court of Appeal approved the extradition to Belgium of 26-year-old Marseilles resident Nacer Bendrer on Wednesday, revealed Magali Josse, press representative for Paris Public Prosecutor’s office, to Belga news agency. He is suspected of aiding and abetting Mehdi Nemmouche, the alleged perpetrator of the terrorist attack on the Jewish museum in Brussels on May 24th, 2014. Belgian investigators suspect Nacer Bendrer of giving logistical support to Mehdi Nemmouche before the attack. He denies any involvement in the case and was refusing to be handed over to Belgian authorities. The Paris Court of Appeal did not make public its arguments as the decision can still be legally challenged.
Nacer Bendrer was in the same Salon-de-Provence prison as Mehdi Nemmouche from June 1st, 2008 to December 2nd, 2010. A group of prisoners from that particular detention centre allegedly turned to the radical practice of their religion. Mehdi Nemmouche and his alleged accomplice are suspected of being leaders in that group, according to evidence presented to the Paris Court of Appeal. The individual is said to have been Mehdi Nemmouche’s right-hand man, which he denies.
Evidence unearthed by the investigation shows that Mehdi Nemmouche and Nacer Bendrer stayed in touch after their release, including in the weeks preceding the attack. On April 9th, 2014, Mehdi Nemmouche allegedly called his accomplice from Brussels. After that phone conversation, Nacer Bendrer allegedly went to Brussels and stayed there from April 10th to April 12th, a trip he kept very confidential. 2 weeks later, it was Mehdi Nemmouche’s turn to visit Marseilles from April 24th to April 29th. His mobile phone signal was located close to Nacer Bendrer’s home by a GSM antenna.
The alleged meetings between the 2 men in the weeks preceding the attack are not the only reason Belgian investigators are following this lead, as they also wonder why Mehdi Nemmouche went to Marseilles after the attack.
Arrested in Ceyreste (30 km East of Marseilles) on December 9th, 2014, Nacer Bendrer was carrying weapons including 2 automatic pistols, a shotgun, a gun charger, ammunition, and a machine gun (Kalachnikov). The terrorist attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels killed 4 people.
Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)