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

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.

 

READ MORE: Gang leader fought in Syria, documentary reveals

 

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.

 

READ MORE: Cops taking cover looks at Muslims

 

“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.





  • How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    How internationals can benefit from joining trade unions

    Being part of a trade union is a long-established norm for Danes. But many internationals do not join unions – instead enduring workers’ rights violations. Find out how joining a union could benefit you, and how to go about it.

  • Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals in Denmark rarely join a trade union

    Internationals are overrepresented in the lowest-paid fields of agriculture, transport, cleaning, hotels and restaurants, and construction – industries that classically lack collective agreements. A new analysis from the Workers’ Union’s Business Council suggests that internationals rarely join trade unions – but if they did, it would generate better industry standards.

  • Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    Novo Nordisk overtakes LEGO as the most desirable future workplace amongst university students

    The numbers are especially striking amongst the 3,477 business and economics students polled, of whom 31 percent elected Novo Nordisk as their favorite, compared with 20 percent last year.