Who is Anne Diana Clain? Why and how did she try in 2015 and 2016 to join her brothers in Syria in the Islamic State (IS). What did she know about what was happening there? This is what the Paris Criminal Court examines during these two days.Surrounded by two police officers concealed under a balaclava, Anne Diana Clain enters the smiling courtroom. She is a 44-year-old woman who is not her age. Long, curly, red hair, she wears a white coat and sits in the glass box behind her lawyer. We would give him thirty. Prosecuted for criminal conspiracy to prepare acts of terrorism, she responds clearly and gently to the President's questions. She seems naive or plays naivety with a smile.
Mother at 15
Anne Diana Clain became a mother at 15 and a half years old. She stops studying. She was in fourth. She never really worked. A job as a cleaning agent in a psychiatric hospital in Alencon (Orne) for a year and a few days in the dark at a florist. And then life continued to catch up. "After I took care of all my children," she said, "I was blossoming like that, it was already a lot of work at home."The president of the 16th chamber of the Paris Criminal Court questions her about her past. His childhood, his adolescence, his family life.
His mother never worked.
His father ? She does not seem to know what he was doing. He may have been a cleaning agent. Her parents from Reunion Island separated when she was small.
– "He left I was 6 (…) after I had to see him 2 times in the space of 10 years."
– "You have your first child at 15 and a half, what was your mother's reaction?" asks the president.
– "I think she was even betrothed at 14, she said nothing, she did not see the harm."
– "This has been experienced as something natural?" resumed the magistrate.
– "Normal, yes," answers Anne Diana Clain.
Anne Diana Clain had 6 children from three different fathers. "With the first it did not work at all, he left"she explains.
She finds herself alone with Jennyfer. Then she has two other children with another man. But with this one, that does not work either. He was beating her, she said. But when he converts to Islam like her, as if to please him, she wants to give him a new chance. "I thought that as a Muslim he would behave well".
She stays a little longer with him. But she marries civilly with a man Mohamed Amri introduces him.
Married in May 2001, she leaves him a month later and marries religiously with this Mohamed Amri, this friend of the family that she has known for several years. Mohamed Amri is 15 years older than herself.
Muslim, he is already married civilly and religiously.
–"Do not you mind if he's already married?" asks the president of the court.
–"It's not necessarily rewarding to be the second woman, what motivated you?"
–"I was not against polygamy, that's why I accepted, at the time I thought it was good.
– "Did this man impress you?"
–"Yes, I admired it, I had no luck before I had always known guys who did not work, there I found the good who was interested in me."
The conversion to Islam
It is through this companion that Anne Diana Clain converted to Islam. She dates this conversion of 1999. With her brothers, at that time, she was looking for answers, she explains. A spiritual quest that, according to her, lasted almost two years and it is towards Mohamed Amri that they turned to look for answers. "After my brother Fabien, we all converted one after the other."
His first daughter Jennyfer is 16 years old when she marries religiously with Kevin Gonot, who is 17 years old. A companion chosen probably by the brothers Jean-Michel and Fabien Clain during their stay in Egypt.
"She wanted to study in Egypt, to learn Arabic," explains Anne Diana Clain, "how old it is to have a friend, she did it religiously."
A little later, during the interrogation, the president returns to this question of marriages in the Clain family that seem to be "arranged" marriages.
–"Your daughter Fanny marries religiously with Nasredine Nadjar, is it Fabien Clain who presents them?"
– "The fact that it is your brothers who organize, it does not give you the feeling of being dispossessed?
– "No, when there was the meeting I was there, they seemed to like each other."
Departure to Syria
In 2014 and 2015 the whole Clain family leaves for Syria. Jean-Michel Clain and his wife Dorothee Maquere. Amelie Grondin (Anne Diana Clain's half-sister) and her husband Mohamed Megherbi, Jennyfer Clain and her husband Kevin Gonot. Then Fabien Clain and his wife Mylene Foucre and the children's mother Clain, Marie-Rosane Grosset.
– "When Fanny leaves for Syria in May 2015, did you know what the situation was there?" asks the president.
-"No", replies Anne Diana Clain.
– "But there are the videos"insists the magistrate.
Anne Diana Clain continues:
I have not seen videos. My brother, he said the country is too good, must come and Islam can be applied according to the rules that suit us.
The older sister of Jean-Michel and Fabien Clain explains that initially she did not want to go to Syria.
"We wanted to see the evolution of the IS to see if it was going to happen (…) but the death of my mother (Marie Rosane Grosset died in Syria) it played and my sister-in-law (Mylene Foucre who was also leaving, she was my only friend. "
But what did she know about what her brothers were doing in Syria?
– "I know my little brother was a guardian of peace"
-"Policeman ?" asks the president.
– "I do not know, it had to be policeman", replies Anne Diana Clain.
– "The Islamic police?" suggests the magistrate.
-"Yes"replied the defendant.
–"When you go to Syria," the president asks, "your sons are old enough to be enlisted by IS, we all know it."
– "No, I did not know it."
I knew there was war but in the last messages I was told that the bombing was far away. I imagined a life like this. It was naive on my part.
–"And your children, do you think they are going to come to Syria and they will go to school?"
– "Yeah, I thought it was a new state, there were universities, everything."
Fabien and Jean-Michel Clain were responsible for producing songs for IS propaganda videos or messages of claims of attacks committed in Europe, including the November 2015 attacks that left 130 dead in France. They were killed by coalition air strikes in March 2019.
Anne Diana Clain had left France with her husband and 4 of her children in August 2015. After having sold the furniture of the house of Ambax (31) and made some savings. The family had left with 10,000 euros in hand towards Syria. Refouled at the Turkish border once they all settled in Bulgaria for 9 months before attempting again to return to Syria via Turkey.
Expelled to France, they were arrested in Roissy on September 24, 2016.
Anne Diana Clain is in custody in Fleury Merogis, Mohamed Amri has been placed under arrest in Bois d'Arcy.
Anne Diana Clain, now 44, was born on July 23, 1975 in Reunion Island.
She is the elder sister of Fabien and Jean-Michel Clain born in Toulouse in 1978 and in 1980.
She has lived in Toulouse since 2005 and Ambax (Haute-Garonne). She is the mother of 6 children born to 3 different fathers.
She had her first child Jennyfer in 1991, when she was not yet 16 years old.
His second daughter Fanny was born in 1996 from his affair with Laurent Patry, then she has a son with this same companion, Ismael, born in 2000.
She then had three children with Mohamed Amri: Abdou Raïm, Soukaïna and Zaïneb born respectively in 2002, 2005 and 2007.