Mourad Hamyd, brother-in-law of Charlie Hebdo attacker Cherif Kouachi, appeared in front of a Bulgarian court on August 10, asking to be extradited to France, Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) reported.
Hamyd, the 20-year-old French citizen arrested in Bulgaria in connection with alleged participation in an organised crime group preparing terrorist acts, was taken in custody by Bulgaria on July 29. He is the subject of a European Arrest Warrant and is wanted by French authorities to face charges of terrorism.
Speaking at his hearing on August 10, Hamyd said that he was the victim of injustice and declared a terrorist based only on suspicion, BNR reported. He also claimed to have been mistreated while in custody, an allegation denied by prosecutor Tsvetana Borilkova, who said that she had spoken with the head of the detention facility and was assured that the situation was “normal”.
Hamyd’s defence attorney, Dragomir Alexandrov, said that Hamyd wanted to be extradited as soon as possible because “he is not being treated well and does not even know what he has been detained for. He prefers to be in France because he knows the situation there.”
Last week, Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova told reporters that Hamyd had been taken into custody because he exhibited behaviour typical of a would-be “foreign fighter”. She declined to disclose Hamyd’s whereabouts or in which court would hear his case.
According to Bulgarian prosecutors, Hamyd attempted to cross the border with Turkey at the Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint on July 28, but was denied because he was subject to a five-year entry ban by Turkish authorities. The head of Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security was informed, and he issued an order for Hamyd to be deported to Serbia, but before it could be carried out, Bulgarian authorities received the European Arrest Warrant on July 29 and Hamyd was taken into 72-hour custody.
Hamyd has three days in which he can retract his extradition request, after which the court will issue a ruling on his petition, BNR said.