Three months after Redoine Faid escaped from a French prison by helicopter, police finally arrested the notorious gangster in his hometown of Creil. France’s outgoing minister of the interior, Gerard Collomb, confirmed the arrest, which was first reported by Reuters. 3000 men had been deployed to search for Faid, but authorities spent three months searching in vain. Some even feared that the Franco-Algerian may have already gotten away to Israel, where he is rumored to have ties to organized crime. In the late 1990s, Faid has said, he escaped arrest in France by running away to Switzerland. From Switzerland he moved to Israel, where he claimed that he had taught himself Hebrew and successfully passed himself off as an Orthodox Jew for several years.
In any case not everyone was rooting for Faid to be caught. In cell phone footage of Faid’s escape, the inmates in the prison can be heard cheering. And one prominent French actress, Beatrice Dalle, congratulated Faid on social media, saying, “Que Dieu te protege,” or, “May God protect you.”
Police initially thought that Faid’s brazen escape was carried out with some help from his brother, Brahim. But on Monday evening, they released Brahim from custody. Brahim continues to protest that he is totally innocent, and police don’t have any reason to hold him.
We do know a bit more about Faid’s last jail break, back in 2013. That escape might not have happened without the gangster’s wife, a mysterious figure who helped him to make his dramatic getaway.
Here’s what you need to know.
Faid’s Wife Brought Him the Explosives for His 2013 Escape
In 2011, Faid was sent to a prison in Sequeddin, northern France, after he violated the terms of his parole. In 2013, he made a daring prison break: using explosives that his wife allegedly brought to the jail, Faid blasted open the prison gates and got out.
First, though, Faid took five prison guards hostage. He then blasted open the prison gates, in a scene that looked like something from a movie trailer. He let four of the prison guards go free, before escaping, with the final hostage, through the prison gates and into a waiting car. Faid abandoned the getaway car, and the final hostage, near the city of Lille.
After Faid’s escape, the lawyer for Faid’s wife said that she had nothing to do with Faid’s escape; she claimed that she had never gone to the prison to deliver the explosives. But this apparently contradicted her earlier testimony, creating even more confusion and a deeper mystery.
As if to confuse things further, Faid’s wife’s lawyer began referring to her as Faid’s “ex wife.” The truth is that very, very little is known about Faid’s wife. Not even her name — or specifics about the couple’s marriage, divorce, and child — is public.
Faid Said He Had to Break Out of Jail to See His Dying Father
Redoine Faid told a judge at a hearing in 2017 that he had broken out of jail in 2013 because he felt compelled to answer “the call of liberty.” Faid added that he badly wanted to see his father, who was close to death and was living in Algeria at that time.
Faid added that he wanted to return to his old life, living as a “businessman” with his wife and his son. It’s not clear whether this was the same “wife” who brought him explosives and later claimed to be his ex!
Faid also complained that being transferred to Sequedin, 200 kilometers from his family, was a hardship and that he had requested to be put in the prison at Nantes.
Faid’s Brother Brahim Was Arrested After Faid’s Latest Prison Break, But Is Now Free
Police arrested Brahim Faid, Redoine Faid’s brother, after Faid’s dramatic prison break just yesterday. Fisal was being held in Versailles prison as of Sunday but always claimed that he had nothing to do with Faid’s escape. On Monday evening, the police released him.
Brahim had gone to visit his brother on Sunday morning, and both men were in the visitor’s room when Faid’s men flew in to rescue him by helicopter. The fact that Redoine Faid was in the visitor’s room, instead of locked up in a cell, may have made his getaway much easier.
Faid comes from a large family, and he is not the only one involved in criminal actitives. His older brother, Fisal is two years older than him. In 2016, when Fisal was 46, an Algerian court condemned him to 20 years in prison for involvement in the death of a French policewoman, Aurelie Fouquet.
Faid Described His Mother As “Affectionate” and His Father As “Honest”
During a court appearance in 2016, Faid made reference to his family. He talked about his nine brothers and sisters. And he painted an idyllic picture of his childhood home.
Faid said that his mother was “affectueuse,” or “affectionate.” He said that he father was “integre,” or “honest.”
Very little is known about Faid’s family, beyond the snippets that Faid lets out now and then.