Merah killings: Silent marches held in honor of victims as brother Abdelkader Merah is charged an accomplice


A white person and a black person hold hands as they take part in a march in Paris today. The march was called by human rights organizations following the serial murders in the Midi-Pyrénées region this month in which an Islamic extremist, since killed, was the suspected culprit.



France’s shock and grief brought thousands to the streets today for silent marches called in honor of the victims of this month’s series of killings in Toulouse and Montauban, according to the French newspaper Le Monde.

Meanwhile, Abdelkader Merah, the brother of the suspected killer Mohamed Merah who was himself killed last week in a stand-off with police, has been charged with complicity in murder and aiding wrongdoers in the preparation of an act of terrorism, according to the news magazine L’Express.

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According to L’Express, the Paris prosecutor’s office, which has jurisdiction over terrorism investigations in France, said in a statement: “The investigations conducted by police have established the existence of serious or corroborating evidence against Merah Abdelkader making likely his participation as an accomplice in the commission of the crimes linked to a terrorist enterprise.”

Europe1 reports that four investigating judges have been assigned to the case and that Abdelkader Merah is suspected in the theft of the scooter allegedly used by his brother in the killings.

Abdelkader Merah’s partner Yasmina Merah, also questioned by an investigating judge, was released without charge, according to L’Express, which quoted her lawyer Guy Debuisson as telling the Agence France-Presse news agency that the revelations about his client’s husband’s double life were a “bomb exploding in her face.” The two were married in a religious ceremony not recognized by the state, according to L’Express.

Debuisson told the free daily newspaper 20Minutes that Yasmina Merah “lived totally normally and had no knowledge of her husband’s double life.”

With AFP and Reuters, Le Monde reports that Abdelkader was known to French police services as a committed Islamist radical and for "his suspected involvement in a network that sent militants to Iraq several years ago" but for which he was not charged. Investigators are seeking to determine whether there was a fiancial structure, if not a network, behind the two brothers and if Abdelkader supported Mohamed financially or logistically, according to the evening newspaper.

According to AFP, thousands marched this afternoon in Paris, answering a call by Licra, or the League against racism and anti-Semitism, SOS Racisme, France’s Jewish student’s union and the Association of French victims of terrorism. The actress Jane Birkin, the singer Yannick Noah and Harlem Désir, the Socialist Party’s number two, were present, the news agency said.

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The news agency said 300 gathered Sunday morning outside a synagogue in Strasbourg and carried candles in memory of all those killed. In Lyon, 200 gathered in front of the town hall and in Toulouse, a gathering of the Jewish community was expected before the Ozar Hatorah Jewish day school where five people were shot, four fatally, including three children.