Notorious French Gangster Redoine Faïd Begins High-Security Trial in Paris for Helicopter Prison Escape

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Renowned French gangster, Rédoine Faïd, has embarked on his trial in Paris, the proceedings enveloped in a stricture of security due to his audacious escape from prison via helicopter five years prior. Infamous for his daring jailbreaks, the French authorities have deemed it necessary to assign an elite force of gendarmes the task of preventing any attempts Faïd might make to abscond en route to the trial.

Faïd, who is fifty-one years old, isn’t facing charges alone but is in the company of eleven others, among them his two elder brothers. Court documents paint a scene of him arriving at the court under the careful watch of a heavily armed police contingent. His brother Rachid, suspected to be the mastermind behind the dramatic jail break, came next.

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At the time of his escape, Faïd was already serving time for an earlier prison break in 2013. The breakout was reminiscent of a daring action movie, with two accomplices taking a helicopter pilot hostage and landing in the courtyard of Réau Prison, south of Paris. They infiltrated the nearby visiting room, where Faïd was meeting his brother Brahim, under the smoke cover of bombs and with the help of angle grinders.

Witnesses recount two men garbed like commandos wielding Kalashnikov assault rifles, posing a threat prison guards could not counter. The break was successful, with the helicopter making its exit swiftly, the deed concluding in mere minutes.

Faïd was eventually apprehended three months later in his hometown of Creil. His managing to elude captivity, however, was a testament to his life of criminality that began with armed robbery and extortion in the troubled suburbs of Paris in the 1990s. It was a life he candidly recounted in a book, noting how the Hollywood film Heat inspired his attack on a security van during the same decade.

The man known for masterminding a 2010 robbery that claimed the life of a 26-year-old policewoman, Aurélie Fouquet, is now standing before a maximum security court in the Île de la Cité in Paris. Faïd, along with his 11 co-defendants, including his brothers, faces allegations of aircraft hijacking and habitual jail break as part of an organized gang.

Despite the damning charges, Faïd’s lawyers lament his treatment, isolating him in solitary confinement at Fleury-Mérogis prison south of Paris. Attorney, Marie Violleau, posits that the severity of his treatment doesn’t equate to the nature of his escape. She argues that despite its audacity, it was not particularly dangerous as Faïd did not resort to gun violence during his escape.

Among the accused include Jacques Mariani, identified as a successor of one of the founders of a notorious organized crime gang on the French island of Corsica, a setting wholeheartedly fitting this narrative that teems with drama and danger.