Revealed by BFMTV, this European arrest warrant was issued for “evading the execution of a deportation decision” (article L824-9 of the foreigners’ code), sources familiar with the matter told AFP. .

Tuesday after the green light from the Council of State for the expulsion of Mr. Iquioussen, the police had not found him at his home in Lourches, near Valenciennes.

The next day, the prefect of the North had explained, during a press conference, that the imam was therefore considered a “delinquent”, because on the run.

If indeed Mr. Iquioussen remained in France, the reason for the arrest warrant is justified, according to sources familiar with the matter.

But the Minister of the Interior has since affirmed that the imam was “obviously in Belgium” and welcomed it.

However, in this case, according to sources familiar with the case, Mr. Iquioussen is considered to have himself executed the removal measure.

Under the influence of an expulsion order signed by the minister, he can indeed leave France for any country. The modalities of expulsion are not fixed in an expulsion order.

On the other hand, an obligation to leave French territory (OQTF), which was not taken against him, provides for the terms of expulsion to the country of origin.

So that this arrest warrant and its reason are only justified if the imam is in France. “It’s legally complicated”, admitted to AFP a source familiar with the matter, when another argued that it had been necessary to show “legal acrobatics to bring a legal action against someone under the blow of an administrative measure”.

The Council of State gave the green light on Tuesday to the expulsion of Mr. Iquioussen (born in France 58 years ago but of Moroccan nationality) whose Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, had made in recent weeks a symbol of the government’s fight against “separatist discourse”.

Gérald Darmanin announced on July 28 the expulsion of this preacher from the North, on file S (for state security) by the DGSI “for eighteen months”, according to him.

The expulsion order accuses him of “a proselytizing speech interspersed with remarks inciting hatred and discrimination and carrying a vision of Islam contrary to the values ​​of the Republic”.