France’s Justice Ministry publicly announced on Wednesday August 22 that Paris prisoner Oualid B. was released on April 3 due to a serious gaffe by an examining magistrate.
The wrongful release, first revealed by France’s Le Canard Enchainé (a satirical newspaper with a long history of political and business leaks), has been described by government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux as a “serious fiasco.”
Oualid B, in custody since August 2016, is suspected by France’s Homeland Security of having belonged to small family business dedicated to jihad.
Together with his siblings and other relatives, they are believed to be behind a foiled attack in Lyon in 2014 and are due to stand trial in Paris in November.
But an investigating judge forgot to renew Oualid B’s provisional detention, which resulted in his automatic release.
The Ministry of Justice has assured the pubic that the defendant was subject to “very strict judicial control” but the evidence suggests otherwise.
According to Le Canard Enchainé , the investigating judge has been summoned by his superiors and asked to stand down, which he has since refused to do.
The negligent handling of Oualid B’s case is further consolidated by the fact that in May, while under legal supervision, he was arrested outside the authorized perimeter, driving without a license.
His mobile phone was found to contain images of weapon-wielding jihadists and an Islamic State propaganda film.
Even though Oualid B. stood before a judge almost immediately in Meaux (Seine-et-Marne), he was told he could walk free.
The prosecutor's office, who had called for ten months of arrest, appealed and managed to schedule a retrial for September 13 in Paris.
Oualid B. is one of fifteen people (mainly family members) believed to have plotted a jihadist attack in Lyon in 2014. Eight of them however fled to Iraq and Syria before they could be arrested.