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28 chapter three “Pick on me” “I can drive any woman in Belgium crazy.” —Abdelkrim Belachheb quoted from notes cited in trial testimony I According to Interpol Rabat documents, Abdelkrim Belachheb was in Morocco as late as June 21, 1963, when he assaulted and wounded a man in a knife fight. Months later, Interpol Washington has him in Europe at age nineteen. Where he went first and his movements for the next year and a half cannot be established with certainty. Various documents and conflicting testimony have him arriving in either France or Switzerland. There is no indication that his family had helped him to get to Europe or that they even knew where he was. The troubled son could merely have been a fugitive from justice who cared little for the concerns of his family. While being processed in a Texas prison in 1984, Belachheb indicated that he went first to “Pepignons” in France. In this instance , he may have been telling the truth. During that same interview he admitted that he had lived in Fes from 1958 through 1962, which was consistent with what his father told ABC News in 1985. Anyway, this story was much more credible than the nonsense he told the Dallas Times Herald about using his wits to survive the gut- “PICK ON ME” • 29 ters of Casablanca. On yet another occasion, he told the Dallas Morning News that his ambition was to go to Europe to “study lawyer or engineering or doctor to help the people of Morocco.”1 Belachheb probably went to France first because he could speak French. But he seems to have wandered around Europe a great deal. In 1984, he indicated to his doctors that he had spent some time in Spain. ABC News reported that between late 1963 and August 1965 he was refused the necessary work documents to stay in Switzerland and The Netherlands. Although his location changed, his slant on his experience in Europe varies little from his take on life in northern Africa. No one, he thought, wanted to give him a chance—not even other expatriated Moroccans. For example, while in Switzerland he claims to have been befriended by a woman who took him to the Moroccan embassy to get papers allowing him to attend school. Instead, he alleged, they beat him so severely that he was hospitalized for over a month. He recalled being in a coma, his second in less than ten years, for seventeen days. Yet, he claims not to remember who treated him or where he had been hospitalized.2 His wanderings in Europe were clearly the result of a series of unsuccessful attempts to get work papers. “I got to Europe and I have no chance,” he was to say bitterly. While languishing in Spain, he continued, the penniless Belachheb had no money for food. He had only enough for cheap wine and as a result became an alcoholic.3 But to another doctor, and on resumes he later fabricated to apply for jobs in the United States, he claimed to have attended French-speaking colleges.4 His circuitous European travels certainly indicate that he did not want to return to Morocco under any circumstances. Starving in Spain was better than going home to Morocco, the country from which he was probably a fugitive. He did eventually settle in Brussels, Belgium, and he brought along his violent and criminal behavior. On August 20, 1965, he assaulted two people in Brussels. On November 5, he assaulted and struck a woman. On December 11, 30 • CHAPTER THREE he attacked two men with a knife and threatened another one at a café. He was incarcerated from December 12, 1966 to January 11, 1967. Shortly afterwards, he broke out four windows in homes in his neighborhood and attacked another man in yet another knife fight. On February 6, 1967, and again on July 1, 1967, he assaulted men in fights. In less than two years, he had injured at least eleven people.5 Belachheb was jailed again on December 8, 1967, and by December 16, Belgian justice finally caught up to him. In addition to his many assault charges, he was also charged with carrying a prohibited firearm. In the correctional court of Brussels, the judges wrote: “These infractions constitute collective damages of such proportions that they cannot be sanctioned by anything other than the strongest punishment applicable.”6 The “strongest punishment applicable” turned out to be a five year suspended sentence. It...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781574414219
Related ISBN
9781574411676
MARC Record
OCLC
56066806
Pages
288
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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