Ten years spent in Sweden and a refugee status, an arrival in France in the fall of 2022, an asylum application submitted and refused… The journey of the man suspected of having seriously injured six people, including four children, during a a knife attack this Thursday, June 8 in Annecy, in Haute-Savoie, routs and raises many questions.
Knife attack in Annecy: the course of events on Thursday
Abdalmasih H., of Syrian nationality, was born in 1991, and lived for 10 years in Sweden. ” The presumed perpetrator is a homeless person who has a migratory journey in Europe with an asylum request which was granted to him by France “Said the prosecutor of Annecy Line-Bonnet-Mathis during a press briefing.
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Asked by AFP, his ex-wife, also from the Middle East, claims to have met him in Turkey. ” We fell in love and came here [en Suède]. After two years we got married, but he couldn’t get Swedish citizenship, so he decided to leave the country. We separated because I didn’t want to leave Sweden.”, she explained on the phone, confiding in passing her disbelief in the face of this attack. This departure took place “eight months ago”according to the young woman.
Arriving in France in the fall of 2022
In 2013, the suspect applied for and obtained a residence permit in Sweden under subsidiary protection, valid until 2025, according to information from the “World” which quotes the Swedish Migration Authority.
Since 2017, however, he has repeatedly failed to obtain Swedish citizenship. Many Syrians, including a large Christian community, took refuge in Sweden fleeing the war in their country from 2011. Deeming the arrivals too large, the Swedish government at the time tightened asylum conditions shortly after the migration crisis of 2015.
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The suspect arrived in France “in the fall of 2022” according to the public prosecutor of Annecy, during a second press conference at the end of the afternoon. According to the first elements of the investigation, this 31-year-old man was in France on a regular basis, which the Prime Minister repeated at the start of the afternoon.
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Asylum requests in Sweden but also in France, Italy and Switzerland
On November 28, 2022, he submitted an asylum application to the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra). It was refused to him because he obtained his refugee status in Sweden at the end of April 2023 according to “Le Monde”. Indeed, according to the so-called “Dublin III” regulation, the asylum application can only be examined by a single European country, explains the site service-public.fr
The rejection of his request in France was decided on April 26, 2023 according to “Le Monde”, which cites a source close to the investigation, and was notified to him electronically on June 4, four days before the attack. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin was unable to establish a link between this refusal and the attack, but he conceded on TF1 a “disturbing coincidence”. Gérald Darmanin also clarified on TF1 in the evening that the suspect had also filed asylum applications in Switzerland and Italy. Just like the one filed in France, it had no “no need to formulate” these requests, because of his status in Sweden, he explained.
From the point of view of European Union law, the man was in a regular situation. “Le Figaro” wonders, however, about the issue, or not, to the suspect, of a ” refugee travel document (TVR) or a “ travel protection document » required to travel to one of the other Schengen countries. The daily ensures that subsidiary protection in a country of the Schengen area does not automatically allow you to travel to the other Schengen countries, nor to stay there.
No “identified psychiatric history”
The man was also not known to any police file, “no intelligence service” and did not “identified psychiatric history”, according to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, who went there. Gérald Darmanin, however, clarified that the man had been checked while washing in Lake Annecy this weekend. “A handrail was made and there was nothing particularly to complain about. »
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Thursday in the middle of the afternoon, the alleged assailant was in police custody at the Annecy police station. He wore a Christian cross and said in English the phrase “In the name of Jesus Christ” at the time of the attack. In his application to the Ofpra, he presented himself as a “Syrian Christian”according to a police source.
In all, six people were injured, including four children aged 22 to 36 months who are “in a state of absolute emergency”according to the Annecy prosecutor.