Clément Baur must have been 13 or 14 years old when he announced to his mother that he had converted to Islam. And that day there were broken dishes at home. “It was my way of venting. Because I was in total panic “, tells the bar this fifties who, in shock, then waltzed the plates. And a lot of his certainties rooted in his Catholic faith.
“I didn’t understand how he could have got into this religion. I was afraid for him. And I was entering a field that was like quicksand,” adds this mother, suddenly light years away from the time when she took little Clément to World Youth Days (WYD).
Today, Clément Baur is 29 years old and he is on trial for terrorist criminal association before the special assize court in Paris. This Friday, January 6, it is about him that we are talking about in the courtroom. A whole day to dissect his personality. Because it is only next week that the court will examine the facts: on April 18, 2017, five days before the first round of the presidential election, Clément Baur and Mahiédine Merabet were arrested in Marseille when, according to the DGSI, they were about to commit an attack.
“You are a bit secretive, aren’t you? »
While waiting to look into the subject, the court is trying to unravel the threads of Clément Baur’s existence. What is not simple so much the course of the boy is full of mysteries. “You are a bit secretive, aren’t you? », Launches Corinne Goetzmann. the President of the Assize Court. “Yes”, answers the accused soberly, short hair, glasses, thin beard and black tracksuit with white stripes.
Initially, however, nothing extraordinary. An only son who sees his parents divorce. Clément was 8 years old when his mother left for Nice. He then remained to live in the Paris region with his father. In the following years, he commuted a little between the two homes. Then he moved to Nice with his mother. And he is 12 years old when an event occurs which, according to this one, could constitute a turning point in the life of the young teenager.
The trial of two apprentice jihadists arrested just before the 2017 presidential election
One Halloween night, for a futile story of firecrackers, Clément has his face beaten by two men in their twenties. Nothing serious, said the main interested party today. “I took a beating but for me, it did not remain an important event,” he adds.
His mother has another version. “He was kidnapped and sequestered,” she says, adding that one of the attackers then harassed him at the college to withdraw his complaint. “And the only people who protected him then were young Chechens,” says the mother.
A moment of rocking in his eyes. “Clement has found a new family in the Muslim community”. In the box, the accused rejects the idea of a discovery of Islam via the Chechen community of Nice. According to him, he just read, on his own, a copy of the Koran found at his mother’s house.
“When I first read it…how shall I put it?” It hit me hard, ”explains Clément Baur. “Some kind of revelation? asks the president. “The word is a bit strong. In fact, I really found myself in what I was reading. A bit like when you meet people with whom it matches right away…”, says the accused
“But why did you need these fake papers? »
The rest of the story is that of a desire to fly very quickly with its own wings. At 17, he cast off the family moorings and set off for Belgium alone. “He told us that he wanted to resume his studies there,” says his mother who, no more than the father, knows nothing of her son’s new life. Nor of the strange clandestinity in which he enters.
Because quite quickly, the boy obtains several false identity documents. And even though he is not wanted for any crime or misdemeanor, he spends his time covering his tracks and inventing new lives for himself. He ceases to be Clément Baur to become Ismail Djabrailov, Arthur Kamalov, Isamail Abdullaev or Arsen Galimov over the false documents he slips into his wallet.
“But why did you need these fake papers? You trafficked, you sold narcotics? You were a thief? asks the president. Clément Baur replies in the negative and explains that the false papers are just in case he has done “little nonsense”, “not bad things”, “false credits” for example.
One day, it was as a refugee from Dagestan, one of the republics of the Russian Federation, neighboring Chechnya, that he applied for benefits in Belgium. Then as a Chechen national he applied for asylum in France to try to obtain the RSA. And in January 2015, it was with a Lithuanian driver’s license that he was arrested for possession of false papers. He was then sentenced in Lille to four months in prison under the name of Djabrailov.
“But why not tell the court: I am French and my name is Clément Baur? “, is surprised the president. And the accused confided that he preferred to spend four months in prison under a false identity rather than being put on S for radicalization and having a criminal record with his real name.
A solid command of the Russian language
A permanent strategy of neither seen nor known. Because in his private life, no Clément Baur either. It is with his false identities that he marries religiously in a few years with three women, two Chechens and a Russian. And there again, the deception works in full. Because without anyone really knowing how, Clément Baur very quickly acquired a very solid command of the Russian language. So much so that during the investigation, all his successive wives will say that they have always believed that their spouse was Chechen or Dagestani.
In prison for more than six years, Clément Baur is now forced to assume his true identity. And it is with this one that he recently made a pact, from a distance, with a young woman from the Lyon region. He never saw her in real life, just talked to her through a phone fraudulently obtained in detention. “She is 21 years old, she has a 2-year-old boy,” says the accused. “And she’s Russian and Muslim.”
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