Murder at the port of La Seyne: the accused recognizes a “fatal error”

Murder at the port of La Seyne: the accused recognizes a “fatal error”
Murder at the port of La Seyne: the accused recognizes a “fatal error”

The image only remained for a few seconds on the screens of the Var criminal court: a body, lifeless, lying on a pontoon. The t-shirt pulled up mid-torso, revealing a young man of slim build. This is one of the only two traces, clear but fleeting (with a Facebook profile photo presented in black and white), that the jurors will keep in memory of Nour Ben Maati, who drowned after receiving a punch and two shots from foot from Mirath Sghaier, September 19, 2021 in La Seyne.

Lives of wandering and expedients

Unconscious after this deluge of violence, this 25-year-old Tunisian national in an irregular situation was thrown into the water by his attacker. For no reason, except “the hatred” of his executioner, tried at the beginning of the week for murder in Draguignan.

To find out more about Nour Ben Maati, you will have to content yourself with reading the testimony of his cousin who rarely visited the victim. Living in a squat in the Berthe city, Nour did not work and consumed alcohol and drugs. Arriving in France a year earlier, he came to France “to have fun” says his cousin.

Mirath Sghaier fled his country at the time of the revolution in 2011. Since his arrival in the Var, he has committed a series of crimes (theft, violence, possession of drugs) and has been forced to leave the territory.

These existences of wandering and expedients intersected on the night of September 19, 2021 on a pontoon on the Saturnin Fabre quay. An exchange of names, without Mirath Sghaier being able to explain why – “we had been drinking, I heard words that didn’t please me, he insulted me” – and the tragedy ensues.

“I lost my temper”

“I admit. There is nothing to say, agrees Mirath Sghaier during his first words at court. But I swear that I never wished for his death. He lacked respect for me, and at that time, I was not feeling well in my life. I lost my temper. I made a fatal mistake.

If Mirath did not want to kill Nour, what was he thinking when he pulled his victim’s lifeless body by the right arm before toppling it head first into the dark waters of the port? “I thought he was going to get wet and go home. I didn’t know he was going to drown.”

A witness to the scene, also filmed by six city cameras, attests to having seen the accused “in panic” throw himself into the water after realizing that Nour was not coming to the surface. Without being able to bring the young man back up.

He was then the only one to panic. Around him, his two drinking friends but also those of the victim did not bat an ear. “I thought he was going to save him,” explains Nagih. “I had nothing to do with all that.” – “You could have been prosecuted for failure to assist a person in danger” reprimands President Catherine Bonicci. “If everyone had helped me, maybe I wouldn’t be here,” insists Mirath Sghaier. If he hadn’t put Nour Ben Maati in the water either, La Palice could have replied…

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