Maybe this is too good to check, but … at least two different publications have reported the same story. Belgium extradited Salah Abdeslam to France on Wednesday to face justice for the ISIS-linked massacres in Paris, and his initial welcome to jail hardly qualified as a triumph. Fellow radical Islamists in the Fleury-Mérogis prison booed and jeered Abdeslam for wimping out on his planned suicide attack.
Call this the feel-good story of the day, and hey … it might even be true:
The man accused of being the logistics chief behind the Paris terror attacks was booed by radical Muslim inmates after arriving in jail – because he failed to carry out his suicide bombing.
Salah Abdeslam spent his first night in Fleury-Mérogis prison on Wednesday after being extradited from Belgium. He was arrested over last November’s attacks in the French capital which claimed 130 lives.
Upon arriving behind bars, the 26-year-old was whistled and jeered by extremist lags enraged by his alleged failure to detonate his suicide vest during the Paris onslaught.
The Daily Mail’s report either parallels or is sourced by BFM-TV in France. The original French notes that the source of this story was a trade unionist at the same prison, and that officials put Abdeslam in solitary confinement as a result of his reception. The prison worried that the very-much-alive suicide bomber might become the target of reprisals:
Des détenus radicalisés auraient hué le terroriste présumé lui reprochant de ne pas s’être fait exploser le soir du 13 novembre.
Salah Abdeslam a passé sa première nuit au centre pénitentiaire de Fleury-Mérogis. Alors que de nombreuses précautions de sécurité ont été prises le concernant, jeudi matin, c’est l’attitude d’autres prisonniers qui inquiète. Le terroriste présumé des attentats du 13 novembre a été sifflé par les autres détenus, a indiqué un syndicaliste de la prison à BFMTV.
Selon lui, il s’agirait de détenus radicalisés qui reprocheraient à Salah Abdeslam de ne pas avoir été jusqu’au bout, de ne pas s’être fait exploser, le soir des attaques de Paris. Le terroriste présumé, arrivé mercredi en France, a été placé à l’isolement à Fleury-Mérogis, plus grand centre pénitentiaire d’Europe. Une mesure de sécurité à la fois pour éviter tout contact avec les autres détenus, mais aussi pour le protéger d’éventuelles représailles.
Anyone buying this? I’d give this a 50/50 chance of being accurate at best. It seems strange that prison officials would parade Abdeslam through the facility when they clearly planned to put him in solitary from the very start, as the Associated Press’ video report from Wednesday indicated. The last thing they’d want is to inspire a riot, either one aimed at freeing Abdeslam or killing him for cowardice. Maybe they had to march Abdeslam through the prison to get to his detention facilities, but it just seems pretty convenient to hear that the imprisoned radicals would blame Abdeslam for choosing to live and conduct more attacks. It reads more like a weird morality play in which the villain gets shamed by other, lesser villains for his villainy, and … that seems pretty incroyable. Color me very, very skeptical.
Interestingly, one of Abdeslam’s lawyers predicts that his client will eventually cooperate, because as another of his defense team put it, he’s a moron. And that’s a quote:
Speaking yesterday, his lawyer described him as a ‘moron from Molenbeek’ with ‘the intelligence of an ashtray’.
Sven Mary said: ‘He is the perfect example of the GTA (Grand Theft Auto video game) generation who thinks he lives in a video game.
‘I asked him if he had read the Koran, and he replied that he had looked up what it meant on the Internet.’
This too seems a little incredible, but perhaps more believable than his castigation from fellow jihadis. Perhaps the defense plans to argue that Abdeslam couldn’t plan to tie his shoes without instructions from someone else, and that should be a mitigating factor for … one hundred and thirty murders? Good luck if that’s the defense strategy.