He had pretended to be dead for 13 years: a man convicted in Morocco for a murder committed in Paris in 2011

He had pretended to be dead for 13 years: a man convicted in Morocco for a murder committed in Paris in 2011
He had pretended to be dead for 13 years: a man convicted in Morocco for a murder committed in Paris in 2011

He had supposedly committed suicide in Morocco, consumed by remorse, according to his brother who brought a death certificate to the French police. A version that the authorities never believed. Hassan Benhamza actually fled to his country of origin, a few days after the murder of Medhi Ettir, a 23-year-old young man, in Paris in 2011, for which he was accused.

After thirteen years on the run, Hassan Benhamza, arrested in June 2023 in Morocco, was sentenced by Moroccan justice, this Tuesday, May 21, to 20 years of criminal imprisonment for this murder, according to several Moroccan media.

“We had our justice for Mehdi,” testified Inès, the victim’s sister, at the microphone of RMC this Wednesday.

A death certificate brought by the family

The story begins on March 27, 2011. That day, Hassan Benhamza and Medhi Ettir, two friends, argued “about a dog,” Le Parisien revealed last June. A fight breaks out and Medhi gains the upper hand. The next day, Hassan Benhamza decides to take revenge.

He waits for Medhi Ettir in front of his home, rue Louis Bonnet, in Belleville in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, hits him before fatally stabbing him. “My brother was stabbed five times. So he really intended to kill him,” said his sister, thirteen years later, at the microphone of RMC. A few days after the murder, Hassan Benhamza fled to Morocco, his country of origin.

In July 2011, the suspect’s father went to the French police officers with his son’s death certificate in hand, claiming that he had allowed himself to waste away, before committing suicide, consumed by remorse.

“They had a fake funeral”

But the police are not fooled and quickly understand that the suspect faked his death to avoid justice.

By wiretapping the fugitive’s relatives, they noticed in particular that Hassan Benhamza’s mother was a little too cheerful a few days before her son’s funeral, Le Parisien explained at the time.

“They had a fake burial, a fake coffin, a fake grave… A whole ploy. In the meantime, during these 13 years, he founded a small family. We too would have liked our brother to start a family, to enjoy, to live… but no. To think that he would never be judged, we suffered enormously,” Inès told our colleagues.

In 2017, Benhamza’s relatives – his mother, his two brothers and his ex-partner – were convicted in France for forgery and use of forgery, receiving prison sentences ranging from fifteen months to twelve months suspended.

Although an international arrest warrant had indeed been issued in March 2014, his dual French-Moroccan nationality made his extradition impossible. He was sentenced in his absence in 2016 to 25 years of criminal imprisonment by the Paris Assize Court

“We have a lot of questions to ask him”

But in 2023, after the warming of diplomatic relations between France and Morocco, Hassan Benhamza is arrested and placed in pre-trial detention.

This Tuesday, May 21, thirteen years after the Medhi Ettir murder, Hassan Benhamza was sentenced to twenty years of criminal imprisonment by Moroccan justice. The accused appealed. The judgment is due to take place in a month.

“We have a lot of questions to ask him. I will continue to fight to bring justice to my brother,” said the victim’s sister.

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