Father of man shot dead by police in Paris sues for murder

Police use a bomb disposal robot to inspect the body of a man shot dead at a police station on Jan 7, 2015, in Paris.
Police use a bomb disposal robot to inspect the body of a man shot dead at a police station on Jan 7, 2015, in Paris.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - The father of the man shot dead as he tried to attack a Paris police station two weeks ago filed a complaint on Wednesday alleging his son was murdered by police.

The probe into the killing had based its conclusions solely on the testimony of the police who shot Tarek Belgacem on Jan 7 - the one-year anniversary of the Islamic militant attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, the father's lawyer Nasr Azaiez said.

"This version is contested by at least three precise and detailed witness accounts by residents," Azaiez told a news conference.

Belgacem was killed for baring a weapon, Azaiez said, in what police considered legitimate self-defence.

"Do you have the right to kill him because he showed a weapon?" the lawyer asked.

A legal source confirmed that the complaint of "voluntary homicide" had been lodged against persons unknown.

Police gunned down Belgacem as he tried to attack the police station in northern Paris armed with a meat cleaver and wearing a fake suicide vest, shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great), according to Paris prosecutors.

Police said they found a handwritten note on his body in which he pledged allegiance to the militant Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.

The father, Taoufik Belgacem, denied that Tarek was a militant, describing him as "normal, like all young people, a good person".

He added: "They could have fired at him without killing him."

A cousin, Ahmed Belgacem, charged that the note linking Tarek Belgacem to ISIS had been planted to "hide a police error".

Several days after the failed attack, Tunisian authorities confirmed Belgacem's identity, with his fingerprints matching those of a man investigated for a 2013 burglary in Luxembourg.

He was also implicated in crimes committed under pseudonyms in France and Germany.

But Azaiez said: "As far as we know he wasn't convicted. He was suspected of committing these crimes."

German police said Belgacem had spent time living in an asylum seekers hostel in western Germany - some media reports alleged he had posed as a Syrian national - and had spent four years criss-crossing Europe.