News

    French PM Defends Decision Not to Surveil Merah

    French prime minister Francois Fillon, left, leaves Elysee Palace, Paris, Jan. 4, 2012 (file photo).
    French prime minister Francois Fillon, left, leaves Elysee Palace, Paris, Jan. 4, 2012 (file photo).

    French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has rejected accusations that his government could have prevented the killing spree allegedly carried out by a fundamentalist Muslim that left seven people dead.

    Fillon said on French radio Friday that despite a criminal history, authorities had no specific reason to keep the suspect, 23-year-old Mohamed Merah, under permanent surveillance and no reason to think he would carry out such deadly attacks.


    Meanwhile, police are keeping the suspect's mother, brother and the brother's girlfriend in detention, while they try to determine whether Merah acted alone or had accomplices.

    Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, was accused of killing three French paratroopers last week and a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday. The attacks were carried out from a motorbike, and authorities say the same weapon was used in all of the attacks. Prosecutor Francois Molins said the suspect filmed each of the attacks while carrying them out.

    Investigators have begun collecting evidence at Merah's Toulouse apartment building, where he was killed Thursday by security forces after a 32-hour standoff.

    Molins said special police units were instructed to do all they could to capture Merah alive. But when they entered his apartment early Thursday, he came out of the bathroom shooting and then jumped from the balcony. Molins said the suspect was shot in the head.

    Officials say Merah espoused a radical form of Islam and had been to Afghanistan and the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan, where he claimed to have received training from al-Qaida. He also had a long record of petty crimes in France for which he served time in prison.

    In a televised address Thursday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed to crack down on extremist indoctrination, and said anyone who regularly visits websites that support terrorism or call for hate or violence will be punished by law. He promised new legislation that will punish people who go abroad to train as terrorists or who use the Internet to defend terrorism. He also called for healing and national unity in the wake of the shootings.

    A U.S. counterterrorism official said Merah was on the list of known or suspected terrorists who are prohibited from flying to the United States. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, said Merah had been on the no-fly list since 2010.

    Merah told negotiators during the standoff that he had killed to avenge the deaths of Palestinian children and to protest the French army's involvement in Afghanistan.

     

    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Gab- "Officials say Merah espoused a radical form of Islam"
    March 23, 2012 12:00 PM
    So who is selling this young guy assault rifles and guns, and where did he get his religious training? He did not get there in a vacuum. Does a radical for of Islam use a different Koran for instructions? What does this young guy do for a living that he can travel so much, has a car and a motorbike, and an assortment of deadly weapons? What does he do for a living?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora