The victim admits that he blamed the teenager of North African origin to hide the abuse of his own brother
For two decades Farid el-Haïry proclaimed his innocence to the four winds after being falsely accused and convicted in France of the rape and sexual assault of a teenager in the late 1990s, but the judges did not believe him, until this Thursday.
The French Justice has finally recognized that it was a mistake and annulled his sentence. He did so after the woman who accused him in 1998 recanted in a letter. This is the twelfth case recognized as a judicial error since 1945.
«After twenty-four years of suffering, I don’t really know what to say. All I can say is that I don’t wish anyone to experience what I have experienced,” El-Haïry said as he left the court. «Twenty-four years of pain, suffering and insults cannot be erased. I spent a year in jail, but the twenty-three years of mental imprisonment were the hardest. Blows hurt, but words are forever,” added this 41-year-old man, who for two decades was mistakenly considered a rapist despite being innocent.
El-Haïry’s legal nightmare began when Julie D, a 15-year-old teenager, falsely accused him of raping and sexually assaulting her in Hazebrouck, northern France. This son of a Moroccan immigrant and a French woman was 17 years old at the time. “It is impossible. I have never had sexual relations, “she said then, without the police or the judges believing her. It was his word against his accuser’s.
El-Haïry was sentenced in December 2003 to five years in prison, with four years and two months exempt from serving. He spent a year in provisional detention, despite being innocent, to later have to periodically go to register with the Gendarmerie and find himself included in the judicial file of perpetrators of sexual and violent offenses.
His accuser, Julie D., has remained silent for two decades, until in October 2017 she sent a letter to the Douai prosecutor. “I confess to having lied. Mr. Farid is not guilty of anything and he never committed acts of sexual assault or rape on me. The truth is this: between the ages of 8 and 12 I have been the victim of repeated incest by my older brother, “Julie explained in her letter, which she has now allowed to recognize the judicial error.
To protect her family, Julie falsely blamed El-Haïry, a neighborhood dropout who had a reputation as a rowdy and petty criminal.
“The accusation against Farid El-Haïry is based only on a statement and a small racist connotation that transpires in the report,” his lawyer, Frank Berton, lamented last week on the BFMTV television network.
“I will never be able to forgive him,” El-Hairy said last week during the hearing on his accuser. «I understand her discomfort (for having been raped by her brother) because no one should experience that. But destroying my family to protect yours is vile,” added this victim of the French judicial system.
Following the annulment of his sentence, El-Haïry plans to claim compensation from the State for having been wrongfully convicted and is going to file a case for “slanderous complaint” against his accuser.
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