Eight men, aged 31 to 58, have been appearing since Wednesday for having played a role in the disappearance in January 2019 of a back door of the Bataclan, covered with a stencil painting claimed by the enigmatic British street-artist.
The “sad girl” was painted in June 2018 in the passage Saint-Pierre-Amelot, an alley through which many spectators had fled during the attack of November 13, 2015. 90 people were killed in the performance hall.
“The theft of this door aroused very strong emotion and a major disturbance to public order,” said prosecutor Valérie Cadignan in her indictment.
At the end of the trial, “we all agree that it was not a question of profaning”, she nevertheless continued, but “of making a profit by being aware of the inestimable value of this door”.
“Invaluable” because “coming from one of the most highly rated artists in the world” and “charged with an important power of memorial evocation”, underlined the representative of the prosecution. Referring to Thénardier who, in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, “stripped” a corpse, she spoke of “scavenger behavior”.
– “Sponsor” –
While the defendants described a certain “improvisation” at the bar, the prosecutor dismissed the idea of a “theft of nickel-plated feet”, speaking rather of a “structured organization”.
She requested four years’ imprisonment with a warrant, i.e. immediate imprisonment, against Franck Aubert and Kévin Gadouche, as well as three years against Danis Gérizier, with continued detention for him.
These three men recognized the theft, in eight minutes, of the door, shortly after 4:00 a.m. on January 26, 2019, using grinders connected to a generator installed in a van with hidden plates. The first, contradicted by the second, nevertheless claimed to have been forced to participate.
The magistrate asked for six years in prison, three of which are firm, as well as a fine of 150,000 euros, for Mehdi Meftah, qualified as a “sponsor” even if he is only legally prosecuted for concealment of aggravated theft.
“All roads lead” to this 41-year-old man, who became a millionaire in 2017 after winning the lottery and who had launched a luxury t-shirt brand called “BL1.D” before this case, said the prosecutor.
Mehdi Meftah defended himself at the helm for having “ordered” the work, claiming to have been put “in front of the fait accompli” and then to have wanted to “remove the problem”.
Against a fifth man, “the evacuator”, who helped transport the door on the day of the theft in the Var, to the home of Mehdi Meftah, four years including two closes with a fine of 4,500 euros were required.
– “Broken memory” –
Against two “carriers”, who moved the object from the Var on January 28, 2019 to a hotel in Tortoreto, Italy, three years including 18 months firm as well as a fine of 1,500 euros were required.
The same prison sentence, but accompanied by a fine of 50,000 euros, was finally requested for the “nurse”, the owner of the hotel who later moved the work to the attic of a farmhouse in Sant -Omero where she was discovered by the police on June 10, 2020.
Defense arguments are scheduled for Friday afternoon. The court announced that it would reserve its decision until June 23.
The day before, one of the Bataclan lawyers, Me Laureline Giron, had recalled that, coincidentally, this trial was being held at the same time – but in a different building – as that of the attacks of November 13, 2015, which took place open in September. After nine months of hearing, the national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office must finish taking its requisitions there on Friday.
“The memory of this drama should never have been flouted like this for such a vain, futile, sadly banal motive: money,” pleaded Me Giron, asking for 47,000 euros in damages.