Fritz-Joly Joachim was nabbed in Bulgaria under suspicions of connections with the assassins, who had attacked the Charlie Hebdo French satire newspaper’s office – the Kouachi brothers. In fact the arrest was due to the attempt of Joachim to enter Turkey from Bulgaria with his three-year-old son without the permission of the mother. After the arrest of the father the child was handed over to the social services, until its mother picked it up a few days later. That didn’t seem to alarm Joachim too much. Arnaud Boutet, a journalist at France 2 managed to talk with Fritz-Joly Joachim and was kind enough to give some details that hadn’t been included in the official interview:
“Everybody wanted to find out whether the doers had any accomplices and that’s why I came to Bulgaria with the idea to get more details on the French citizen nabbed under two European warrants: for the kidnapping of a child and for participation in a terrorist organization. We didn’t talk much on his boy, who spent a week with the social workers. We accentuated on “the common business” with the Kouachi brothers, which was re-sale of clothes and shoes across Paris suburbs. We also discussed his attitude towards Islam, jihadism and he said he was innocent. We gave him the opportunity to talk, the way we would have done with anyone in such a unique situation.”
However, why was the busted man surprised by the fact that both arrest warrants didn’t appear simultaneously? Had he expected a second one, as he learnt about the assaults barely at the court hall 5 days later. Here is the explanation of Arnaud Boutet:
“It’s hard to find out. He said he couldn’t figure out why and I couldn’t feel any strong tension in his voice or look – the man was calm, confident and controlling his emotions despite the week spent in prison. He confessed about numerous previous arrests in France, which was obviously useful in that case. I felt him as somebody who would always mind his language, thinking about the consequences. The most surprising thing about the whole situation was the fact that he agreed to talk to me…”
Does the approach of a journalist change somehow, when the person in front faces suspicions of heaviest crimes?
“We ask basic things in such cases, we give him the chance to answer to simple questions. What will happen next – will he be proven guilty? It is possible and with such a scenario things will be over. There is a big difference between an arrested person and a terrorist, who calls a journalist from the assassination scene, dying a couple of hours later without facing court. Then the journalist asks himself: was it a good idea to let him talk, what would I change now, how am I to react, if this happens again? I don’t think I have interfered the future trial, I don’t think I have helped somehow either. The interrogations will be carried out by people, who have much more information, I was just lucky enough to enter an arrest room that was far away enough from Paris. The investigation is going on and there will be results.”