The man who allegedly radicalised the Kouachi brothers involved in the Paris terror attacks is now a nursing intern in the accident and emergency unit of the hospital where victims of the Charlie Hebdo shootings were taken.
In an extraordinary twist, Farid Benyettou, 32, the former ‘emir’ of the Buttes Chaumont cell, has been working at the Pitie-Salpetrier Hospital in Paris since December.
He was an inflammatory figure of the 19th arrondissement and the Adda’wa mosque and known for his radical preaching of Islam.
According to Le Parisien, Benyettou, also linked to the Salafist Group for Preaching Combat, met the brothers in the early 2000s. He urged his followers to wage jihad in Iraq.
In 2005 he was indicted for ‘criminal association in relation to a terrorist enterprise’ and sentenced with Cherif Kouachi to six years in prison three years later.
During Cherif’s questioning in 2005 he said that from the Koranic courses taught by his mentor, he ‘really felt the truth was there before me when he spoke’.
Released from prison in 2011, Benyettou started nursing training a year later before joining the A&E unit at the Pitie-Salpetriere.
He has been described as ‘a studious and discreet student.’
Le Parisien claims that in the heightened atmosphere of the shootings and the tenseness surrounding the city, hospital management removed the on-call schedules from view.
But the paper claims that Benyettou, although not on call Wednesday or Thursday, had to be present on the night of Friday to Saturday - and the following two days.A doctor is said to have told the publication: ‘It’s unimaginable that this man, one of the main mentors of the Kouachi brothers, could welcome the victims of his former protégés.
‘And I cannot imagine that the hospital were unaware of his past.’
Another colleague said it was not possible, according to the rules of the country’s health department, for a nursing position to be held by someone with a criminal record.
A hospital spokesman said a criminal record does not prohibit anyone from taking a diploma, as it is of value in many other public institutions.
Tonight an executive for Paris Hospitals admitted Benyettou was taken off the rota following Thursday shootings.
Martin Hirsch said today: 'When we learned of the Thursday shootings we contacted the police to ensure they knew the position and had M Benyettou on their radar.
'I made the decision Friday morning that he was not on the duta roster.'
He added that the nursing training school which took him on and comes under the auspices of the Paris Hospitals board , were aware from the start of his convictions.
Benyettou, he said, had already completed 80 per cent of his training and would be relieved of any hospital duties.
Instead he will spend the last few days gaining his diploma purely within a school setting.