Attack at the Prefecture: The Wife of the Assailant Released after Three Days in Police Custody

General News
police vehicle and firefighters around the Paris police headquarters where 4 people were killed on 3 October 2019.

Arrested Thursday 3rd October 2019 after the murderous attack perpetrated by her husband Mickaël Harpon, this 38-year-old woman was released in the evening without being prosecuted at this stage.

Under the fire of critics since the killing of the police headquarters, Christophe Castaner admitted “flaws” in the monitoring of the assailant, who had shown signs of “radicalization” in 2015 and whose wife was released Sunday 6th October 2019 after three days in police custody.

Arrested Thursday after the murderous attack perpetrated by her husband Mickaël Harpon, the 38-year-old woman was released in the evening without being prosecuted at this stage, it was learned from a judicial source.

The investigators were looking for possible incriminating elements in this mother of two who had worried about “the unusual and agitated behaviour” of her husband the day before the attack and had exchanged with him 33 SMS the morning of the events.

He had justified the Charlie Hebdo bombing

According to the first lessons of the investigation, this 45-year-old computer scientist, who stabbed four civil servants to death before being shot, was able to adhere to radical Islam and frequent people close to Salafist circles while he was employed. in the prestigious Direction of the intelligence service of the prefecture (DRPP), specifically responsible for detecting radicalization.

“Obviously, there were flaws,” acknowledged the Interior Minister Sunday on TF1 , saying that the main “dysfunction” was in July 2015. Mr. Harpon, converted to Islam for a decade , had justified in front of colleagues the attack of Charlie Hebdo.

According to Mr. Castaner, a police officer in charge of radicalization then met with Mr. Harpon’s colleagues, who would have decided not to report administrative reports. “The malfunction is at that time,” said the minister.
Video. Attack at the Paris police headquarters: Christophe Castaner admits “flaws”:

“No animosity towards women”

According to an internal report of the boss of the DRPP dated Saturday and revealed by France Inter , he reportedly said “It’s done well,” raising concern colleagues. These “signs of radicalization”, however, had not been followed by other significant alerts, according to this document addressed to Mr. Castaner.

The agents in charge of the reports of the radicalization would have thus regularly taken news of the behavior of the computer scientist with his colleagues and his chief, according to which there was “no problem with Mr. Harpon”. Two officials said they had at their level, nothing “detected suspect” in his attitude, according to this report.

This four-page document shows the complexity of the assailant’s profile, a “high-rated” employee who had stopped kissing a colleague but showed “no animosity towards women”.

In February 2019, he reported some “frustrations” with his “heavy” hearing problems – which seemed to slow his career.

Christophe Castaner September 17, 2019 in Marseille.
Christophe Castaner September 17, 2019 in Marseille. (© AFP / Archives / CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU)

Christophe Castaner heard on Tuesday

Criticized for declaring after the killings that Harpon had “never had behavioural difficulties” or “any warning sign”, Mr Castaner tried to justify himself on Sunday.

“I am affirmative in the fact that no sign had appeared in the administrative record of the individual that suggests that he could be radicalized. I tell you again and I say it alas because if a sign had appeared, perhaps we could have avoided that, “said the minister, rejecting calls for his resignation launched including right and far-right.

“Does the question (of my resignation, Ed) arise? No, “said Castaner, who received support from Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in the columns of the JDD, where he also announced two missions on the radicalization of counterterrorism agents.

However, several times since his arrival in Beauvau in the fall of 2018, the minister is far from over with the controversy: he will have to speak in camera on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, in front of the parliamentary intelligence delegation. President Christian Cambon at AFP .

In the meantime, the investigators seek to clarify the nature of the information to which the attacker was able to have access to the prefecture, where he worked since 2003 and where he had a secret defence clearance.

“We do not know the information that he had access,” said Secretary of State for the Interior Laurent Nuñez on Sunday on BFMTV, who dismissed “at this stage” the assumption that he was part of a jihadist cell.

Photo of Mickaël Harpon, obtained on October 5, 2019 by AFP.
Photo of Mickaël Harpon, obtained on October 5, 2019 by AFP. (© AFP)

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