Martinique: Accused terrorist recaptured

By Caroline Popovic for the Times

The accused terrorist who escaped house arrest in Martinique is now in prison.

After twenty-six days hiding out in the rain forest, Rachid Rafaa was arrested by the police on Sunday, August 21.

He was found near the bungalow where he had been held under house arrest for the last two years.

Rafaa had never left Martinique since his disappearance ion July 27.

According to police sources, they received a tip off that Rafaa returned regularly to get food from the small bungalow situated in the northern town of Morne Rouge, where he had been placed under house arrest.

No explanation was given for the escape of the accused terrorist.

However,this is the first crime that he has committed on French soil.

He appeared in court on Monday, August 22 and has been remanded in custody in Martinique’s jail.

An inquiry is underway to find out why Rafaa escaped and what he was doing for the past twenty-six days.

The inquiry is expected to determine whether he had any accomplices and why he returned to Morne Rouge.

For escaping house arrest, Rafaa could spend up to three years in jail.

A trial date has not been set.

Rachid Rafaa is accused by Moroccan authorities of being a member of the terrorist group – al Qaida.

He escaped to France where he was picked up by the police who then prepared to extradite him.

He appealed to the European Human Rights Tribunal, saying he would be tortured if he were returned to Morocco.

The Judge believed him and his extradition was overturned.

For the last three years, Rachid Rafaa has been under house arrest, first in the north of France and since 2014, in Martinique.

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