View Full Version : Baggage handler arrested at Paris airport

30th Dec 2002, 03:02
Police have arrested a baggage handler at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, after two automatic weapons, plastic explosives and a detonator were found in his car.
The man, who is reportedly of Algerian origin, was arrested late on Saturday after a tip-off from a member of the public who saw a weapon in a car boot at the airport.

Other members of the man's family have been taken in for questioning, and the man himself can be held for up to four days without charge.

Paris police have made several arrests in the past two weeks of suspected Islamic militants who, the authorities says, were planning an attack on the Russian embassy in the city.

Family arrests

The man is reportedly a 27-year-old of Algerian origin, who lives in the northern Parisian suburb of Bondy.

He has no criminal record, say police.

As a baggage handler, he has security clearance for several areas of Charles de Gaulle airport, one of Europe's busiest.

Anti-terrorist officers have been brought in, but only as observers at present.

The man's father, two brothers and a family friend were also arrested, after the man's flat was searched.

An automatic pistol, a machine gun, five pieces of plastic explosive and two detonators were found in his car, according to police.

BBC News

Bob Brown
30th Dec 2002, 07:46

Robert Vesco
30th Dec 2002, 12:26
It´s a good thing that most baggage handlers/ground staff are usually NOT searched/x-rayed/turned inside out, while flight crew are.... :rolleyes:

Best wishes for the new year !

30th Dec 2002, 13:26
Having flown into CDG from time to time, I believe it is fairly lax in the security department, and as such is an ideal place for would be terrorists to plan their attacks from.

30th Dec 2002, 17:13
last time I went through CDG the cleaning ladies trolley was wheeled through the arch without a search, lots of places to conceal weapons, C4 etc.
She was a very nice lady though because she knew the security code for airside and kindly let us through!


30th Dec 2002, 22:44
I won't reveal where I was only two days ago but as a then PAX I experienced (was the subject)a serious security breach at a major European airport (not CDG though).
Totally innocent but bloody hell there is still plenty of work to be done... Nothing worse than complacency if I may say so :(

30th Dec 2002, 22:57
There were several Algerian incidents on French aircraft before 9/11 which were,fortunately,very badly organised.There is a huge Algerian presence in Paris and a lot of anti western feeling.Our security system is only as strong as the weakest link and,in Europe, that is quite probably CDG.

31st Dec 2002, 10:20
The thing is AMEX , have you reported this flagrant breach to the authorities of that airport? I bet not. We all see lapses of security but how often to we act on them? (I'm just as guilty by the way).

Baron rouge
1st Jan 2003, 15:32
Thank you very much for all that Anti French campaign, but if I remember well, the latest skyjackers didn't board at CDG on september the 11th, neither did those responsible for the Lockerbie disaster.

Hand Solo
1st Jan 2003, 15:44
I suppose shoebombers don't count then?

Robert Vesco
1st Jan 2003, 19:05
Salut Baron Rouge !

This has nothing to do with being anti French.

Filtonman correctly said that a chain is only as strong as it´s weakest link. Therefore I do not understand the complacency to fix this weakest link.

I regularly fly in and out of a French airport where ground staff are not checked and numerous reports have been filed regarding this. As Monday´s events have proven that this French ´security policy´ was an incident waiting to happen, but the authorities do not seem to care. Instead they rather focus on harrasing flight crews for possesing a nail file while having a crash axe in the cockpit. :rolleyes:

Whether it is regarding the use of French over the radio, or this security issue, the French always seem to be bad teamplayers in a unified (?) Europe.

Maybe France should stop this "anti the rest of the world" campaign ?

1st Jan 2003, 22:11
If airport authorities are sincere with security, ALL staff with restricted area airport access, should be subject to the SAME security procedures as passengers, terminal staff and aircrew when they enter these restricted areas. A byproduct may be that it will also curtail some of the pilfering and smuggling that goes on at airports.
As Robert Vesco said above, the procedures at most airports are just window dressing.

2nd Jan 2003, 09:29
News yesterday suggested man "framed" by relatives of his recently dead wife. From the DT(1/1):

"An airport baggage handler found with guns and explosives in his car at Charles de Gaulle airport, Paris, may not be an Islamic terrorist but the victim of a set-up arranged by his sister-in-law, French police said yesterday.

Abderazak Besseghir, 27, was arrested after a tip from a former soldier who claimed to have seen him handling a gun in the car park. But police have now held the witness for questioning.

Besseghir has denied all knowledge of weapons found in the boot of his car.

Besseghir's neighbours have told police that his sister-in-law accused him of starting a fire at his home outside Paris last summer, which killed his wife. An inquiry into the fire cleared Besseghir but the sister-in-law remained convinced that he was guilty.

Besseghir has told police he thinks a "family cabal" was bent on revenge. His father, two brothers and a family friend underwent further questioning yesterday."

5th Jan 2003, 22:30
Avman, you are right it took me a little while to think the incident over so I didn't report it on the spot.
But you bet wrong because I have done it the next day... See I take that kind of things seriously.
No offence though ;)

5th Jan 2003, 23:11
Not really surprised, I took an aircraft from CDG last year and on arrival at our destination we had a untagged suitcase on board, found to be containing canabis.!!!

Allso know an F/O who had his swiss army knife confiscated, only to replace it with a large stanley knife blade and gets through the X Ray machine every day!!!!

So forget the bloody locked flight deck door and get the ground side of the operation cleaned up.

Robert Vesco
8th Jan 2003, 10:25
So much for locked cockpit doors and metal detectors for flight crews if you can imagine what could happen if someone at catering would put a few drops of this stuff (http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/01/08/uk.ricin/index.html) into the crew meals...

10th Jan 2003, 11:50
From the BBC website:

Friday, 10 January, 2003, 12:33 GMT
Paris airport weapons suspect set up

An airport baggage handler who was arrested in Paris when weapons and explosives were found in his car was the victim of a set-up, police said on Friday.
The man, Abderazak Besseghir - a French national of Algerian origin - had denied knowing how the arms got into the boot of his car.

Two pistols, five cakes of plastic explosive, two detonators and a safety fuse were discovered in his car at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport at the end of December.

But a former Foreign Legion soldier who was a key witness against Mr Besseghir admitted on Friday that there had been a plot to frame him.

It was the result of a long-standing family feud, a BBC correspondent in Paris says.

Mr Besseghir's in-laws blamed him for the death of his late wife in a fire three years ago, his lawyer said.

Mr Besseghir, 27, had no criminal record and the firm that employed him at the airport said he had given them no cause for suspicion in the three years he had worked there.

TAT Probe
10th Jan 2003, 20:52
Now that we know the poor guy was a victim of a set-up, will we hear the thunder of backtracking footsteps from all those only too willing to believe the "Arab=Islamic terrorist=threat=Must-be-true" theory?

I thought not.....

11th Jan 2003, 02:22
I was watching this thread from the beginning , so predictible ....
Taste like "jump on conlcusion"

The first day the man was arrested, he claimed it was a family conspiracy ... And the police also arrested the main witness (the foreign legion guy ) So I guess they were not totally convinced by this "amateur terrorist" scenario ( I can imagine the training in Al Quaeda camps : "Don't exhibit explosives and guns on Airport parking ....It may ring a bell" )

As far as security breach is involved, I remember having read far more cases of "journos able to board a 737 at LHR" (or elsewhere in UK) than in France .. As a matter of fact I read it on Pprune.

Security is a nightmare in CDG ? well, probably...but let's face the truth : a clever terrorist will always find a way to introduce explosives or weapon on board.. it may take time, but it's feasible, anywhere.

A last word about the Algerian terrorism we had to deal with in France, the past years.
The worst event was the hijacking of an AF Airbus by Algerian terrorists ...in Algiers, not in CDG. They forced the crew to land in Marseilles, in order to refuel before attempting to crash the plane on Paris. But that was a different issue ,since the french SWAT succesfully "neutralized" them.

I don't think we are the worst here in France

11th Jan 2003, 04:32
TAT Probe

If you care to check all the threads you will see that there is not one that refers to your comment, therefore I suggest you think twice before you put your foot in your mouth.

Have a nice day

11th Jan 2003, 15:20
What about the calls on his cellphone to well known Islamist militants. What's more, analysis revealed traces of the explosives in several places in the car (which means they'd been moved around and not put directly in the trunk), and in his locker in the airport (presumably in a secure area).
Despite his assertions, the second set of keys of his Peugeot was in the possession of the former car's owner, and not his in-laws.
Sounds like he got a smart lawyer.

11th Jan 2003, 16:11

A smart lawyer is not sufficient in France in terrorism matters, I suspect he couldn't choose his lawyer after being arrested but was given one.
As islamic terrorism is not a new problem here in France, am sure the investigators had good reason to release him.
The anti-terrorism team filed the case, and the victim is now a plaintif against his former in law family.
Just to remind you some facts : the french intelligence department warned the FBI (or CIA ? ) against possible planes Hijacking in the US (that was in summer 2001 ) .

Trace of Explosives in his locker ? well, my former experience of Chemistry analyst, reminds me that you can virtually find anything you want to find ... Molecular analysis is a bit more complex than breath testing, so many factors can affect the sampling and therefore the accuracy of the test.

Phone calls to known islamic activist ...let's wait until those facts are confirmed and proved . And even if it's true, it's not a crime.
The bagagist was never involved in any police related event (a rare case for people living around CDG ;) ) So, I guess he would have been monitored since long if he had called "wanabe terrorist"

I don't know the nature of his relationship with his former in law family, but if it ain't terrorism, let's give him a break.

11th Jan 2003, 20:32
It would appear that these days you just have to mention the word "terrorism" or "terrorist" and almost everybody goes of on a tangent, and regardless of the evidence, the verdict is "guilty until proven innocent".

In this case, weapons and explosives were "found" in a car in a parking lot and NOT on airside. Still most comments where to the tune of "What do you expect, it's CDG" "Security is a joke" and so on.
All of these comments were based on newspaper reports. The same newspapers that, with amazing regularity, gets hammered for being full of 'you know what' here on PPRuNe. Go figure!!!.:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

14th Jan 2003, 12:36
In law family of the bagage handler reckoned it was a family plot !
The ex mother in law is presently heard by french investigators. Initially denying the plot, she finally reckoned the facts.
Her Brother is actively searched by authorities, since he is thought to have provided the explosives and guns. It seems he is hiding in Algeria.
The main witness, a foreign legion soldier, also alleged he lied to the investigators.
It's not well known yet, who was the "brain" of this plot, but the Bagage handler is definitely "clean".

Well, question
Same story in USA in the afternath of Sept the 11 th , what would happen to the bloke ?
Am asking this because of the sad story of the french FA on the virgin flight, who told the crew he found a graph in the lavatories "american must die". The flight was diverted, and the FA, a witness, was soon a suspect !

2 links to figure out the story



And no, i's not anti-american oriented.

14th Jan 2003, 13:47
A good lawyer? Maxime Brunerie (sp), who tried to shoot Jacques Chirac, is still in "Administrative Detention" i.e. locked up and hasn't been put on trial or charged...

14th Jan 2003, 18:31
So the plastic explosive traces in his locker can be found in anybody's and the in-laws went and planted two pistols on him and five cakes of explosives just to make extra sure they framed him. Why? Surely one cake of PE would have been enough. The cell phone calls were misreported.
The flight attendant topic was done to death on the last thread. Obviously he was framed and the finger prints and hand writing samples fabricated evidence, like his confession.
Not anti-US? Oh no.

14th Jan 2003, 20:55
The "foreign legion soldier" was not from the legion, just an usual ex-soldier of paratroopers-marines... but the medias (and many people here...) tagged him as " former foreign legion soldier" to make the picture more palatable for readers.

When learning about desinformation in specific courses, you are warned against this sort of fog - it's always a pleasure to watch this.

15th Jan 2003, 09:31
A pleasure to watch what ? People jailed on fake evidence ? weak witnesses ?

Robert Vesco
15th Jan 2003, 11:30
So the plastic explosive traces in his locker can be found in anybody's and the in-laws went and planted two pistols on him and five cakes of explosives just to make extra sure they framed him.

So (even) if this guy was framed, where did his relatives get all those guns and explosives from ?

Did they just buy these in a local supermarket in the aisle next to the baguettes and fois gras ?

Some supermarket ! Some family !

18th Jan 2003, 16:36
The Explosives and the weapons were provided by the uncle in law of the guy.
No idea were he could get this, maybe from eastern countries, shouldn't be that hard if you ask to the appropriate person, especially around Paris.
Plastic is not only used by terrorist, but also by thieves to blast secured lockers and so on.
Some contacts in Corsica would help ;)
The Bagage handler was returned his pass and duty at CDG since.