Gang leader in Syria documentary wanted for assault
Store A' is going to be arrested as soon as he enters Denmark, but not for his involvement in the Syrian civil war
A documentary on DR2 shows former gang leader 'Store A' fighting against the Assad regime in Syria. Now he faces charges of violence against a Danish woman. (Photo: DR2)
The former leader of the Blågårdsgade gang in the Nørrebro district, Abderozzak Benarabe, who goes by the gang name Store A (Big A), is now wanted by the police for assaulting and robbing a woman in Nørrebro.
Earlier this week, public broadcaster DR2 aired the first part of the documentary ‘Store A – fra bandekrig til jihad’ (Big A – from gang war to Jihad), in which journalist Nagieb Khaja follows the gang leader as he leaves behind his criminal past to take part in the fighting against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Atoning for his sins
In the documentary, Benarabe explains that he made a pact with God to atone for his sins when his brother Abdessamade ‘Lille A’ Benarabe, also a gang member, was diagnosed with cancer.
“With all the shit I have done in my life, I wanted to do good for once,” he said in the documentary. “When my brother got cancer, I made a promise to God that if he survived, I would start praying and stay away from crime.”
Benarabe characterised his decision to go to Syria and take part in the civil war as a way to "do good".
Faces new assault charges
Yet less than a year after his return, Benarabe now faces charges of up to six years in prison for aggravated assault. The incident happened in May and allegedly involved a woman that he had a previous relationship with, according to BT tabloid.
"I can confirm that there is such a case," police commissioner Knud Hvaas told BT, adding that Benarabe will be arrested as soon as he sets foot on Danish ground.
Benarabe has already served five prison sentences, and gained a reputation for disfiguring the faces of his victims. In 2008, he was charged with having hired Polish hit men to assassinate five rival gang members. The plan was never executed and Benarabe was acquitted of the charges against him.
No terrorism charges
Earlier this year, Berlingske newspaper reported that Benarabe could be charged with terrorism for fighting in Syria alongside the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham.
Domestic intelligence agency PET and the Justice Ministry have warned Danish Muslims fighting in Syria that they will be prosecuted when they return to Denmark. But although PET interrogated the gang leader when he first returned to Denmark, he hasn’t faced any terrorism charges.
“It hasn’t had any consequences for Store A to be part of this group,” Khaja, the filmmaker, told DR Nyheder. “[PET] has not charged him with terrorism, so I think that if they had found anything they would have charged him a long time ago.”
While no one knows where Benarabe is at the moment, sources told BT that he may be hiding in Morocco where his family has its roots.
The second part of the documentary will air on DR2 on Tuesday September 17.