the family of Ismail Snabi, detained in Algeria, calls for his release

Frenchman Ismail Snabi on a sea sccoter a few minutes before being arrested by the Algerian coast guard, August 29, 2023.

She has just returned from Algeria. Israa Snabi, 27, was finally able to see, on Tuesday, November 28, her husband Ismail, detained in Maghnia prison, in the west of the country, for more than three months. Twenty minutes of talking behind gl, talking on the phone. “They added five minutes to me because I am his wife”, she whispers. On August 29, this 27-year-old Frenchman – also of Moroccan nationality – was arrested by an Algerian coast guard unit while he was sailing on a water scooter in the company of three of his relatives.

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It was around 8 p.m. when the four men, running out of gasoline, got lost in the fog, in Algerian territorial waters, while they were trying to return, after a long trip at sea, to the marina of Saïdia, border town in northeastern Morocco. This error will cost them dearly: that evening, Bilal Kissi, a 28-year-old Franco-Moroccan, and Abdelali Mchiouer, a 40-year-old Moroccan national living in the Paris suburbs, were killed by gunfire attributed to the Algerian patrol. Mohamed Kissi, 33, brother of Bilal, managed to swim away and reunite with his family in Morocco. Ismail is taken away by the coast guard.

Since his arrest on the open sea at “8:07 p.m., approximately 1.8 nautical miles [3,3 km] north of Oued Kiss »this 27-year-old automobile technical inspector, working in Bondy and living in Clichy-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis), is burdened with legal proceedings.

“Refusal to comply”

According to the Algerian Ministry of Defense, the vacationers fled after being “ordered to stop”, specifies the press release. Faced with a “refusal to comply” And “given that this maritime border region records increased activity of drug trafficking gangs and organized crime (…) shots were fired, forcing one of the Jet-Skis to stop, while the other two fled”. A version denied by Mohamed Kissi, who has since been heard by the French police.

On August 30, in immediate appearance, Ismail Snabi was sentenced to three months in prison for “illegal entry” on Algerian territory by Bab El-a court. His wife ures that he was presented that day, “bare chest and feet” before the court. “He was out to have fun, he only had his swimsuit and a life jacket at sea”, she wants to clarify. Ismail Snabi appealed, as did the public prosecutor; and the sentence was confirmed during the second instance trial in Tlemcem on September 24, during which he was tried by videoconference.

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And that’s not all. For having crossed the maritime border without the documents of the water scooter (which belongs to Mohamed Kissi), Mr. Snabi was prosecuted for “crime of smuggling a vehicle”. Thus, on September 6, he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment – the prosecution had requested three years – and a fine of 15 million dinars (100,000 euros), or five times the value of the jet-ski. , according to customs, who filed a civil suit. On appeal, once again made by Mr. Snabi and the public prosecutor, justice, on 1er October, increased the sentence to one year. Ismail Snabi did not appeal to the Court of Cation on these two cases. “We missed the deadlinessighs his wife. He will not be released from prison until he pays the fine. »

During these four trials, Mr. Snabi admitted to having entered ” by mistake “ in Algeria. At the mention of “his attempt to escape the hands of the Algerian naval forces”, he has answered : “It was the result of fear,” can we read in the judgment of August 30.

Judicial relentlessness

In her modest apartment in Clichy-sous-Bois, Israa Snabi does not know how to cope with the absence of the father of her three boys. The last one will be 2 years old on December 5th. Over and over again, she repeats that she does not understand why her husband suffered such legal harment and such severe sentences. Algerian lawyers stressed that he had been prosecuted for “two offenses for the same act”, had no record and that the court had to consider his navigation error as a mitigating circumstance. Nothing happened.

“Is it because he is also Moroccan that he is in prison? “, asks Israa Snabi, referring to the diplomatic tensions between Algiers and Rabat for two years. Born in Beni Drar, near Oujda, not far from the Algerian border, Ismail Snabi arrived in France “at the age of 6 months”, according to his big brother, Jamal, who was able to visit him in prison several times. “ This summer, he returned to Morocco with his French pport. He does not have a Moroccan pport. It’s a Frenchman who is currently imprisoned”recalls Israa Snabi.

In the four written judgments that The world was able to consult, Ismail Snabi is presented as a “binational” residing both in Morocco and France. “It’s not true, he lives in Clichy-sous-Bois”, corrects Israa Snabi. She herself, of Algerian origin, had to apply for an Algerian pport to be able to visit her husband. “My visa application was refused with my French papers”she explains with annoyance. “Our father was even born in Algeria in 1951”underlines Jamal Snabi.


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According to his relatives, Ismail Snabi shares his cell with around twenty people. “He told me he sometimes sleeps on the floorsighs his wife. Today he is not well. He has lost around twenty kilos, even though he is a bit “bouboule”. It’s even his nickname. I will do everything to get him out. »

“France does nothing”

Israa Snabi wrote to Catherine Colonna, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to be received. A request that remained unanswered: “ I traveled to the Quai d’Orsay twice with my children, she ures, but I couldn’t see anyone. » The mother also sent a letter to Emmanuel Macron, who responded to her on November 17, through his chief of staff, Rodrigue Furcy: “Attentive to your approach, I did not fail to remind you of your expectations [à Mme Colonna] which I had previously entered. » “Yes, but France does nothing, she summarizes. My husband did not even receive a visit from the consul in prison. »

Requested by The worlda diplomatic source ures that “the services of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs are closely monitoring the situation of Mr. Snabi, in close collaboration with his family. As part of the consular protection that any French person detained abroad can benefit from, several requests have been sent to the competent authorities so that our national can benefit from a consular visit..

Israa Snabi is demanding the release of her husband and for France, their country, to become more involved. She just hired a lawyer to “have him repatriated so that he can serve his sentence as close as possible to usshe said discouraged. But just saying this sentence hurts me since he didn’t do anything. He got lost at sea, that happens. »

Israa Snabi wishes to soon organize a rally in front of the mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois “so that we don’t forget it”.

Mustapha Kessous

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