During a hearing on November 8 at the Seychelles courthouse, Thomas Debatisse again proclaimed his innocence. “I reject all the charges against me” and “I plead not guilty,” he said according to comments reported by the Seychelles News Agency. Prosecuted on the spot for the murder of his companion, found hanged in their room, at Club Med on the island of Sainte-Anne on the evening of April 27, the 34-year-old street artist from Nice nicknamed Otom will be tried there from February 3 2022. He faces life imprisonment.

According to the authorities on the spot, Emmanuelle Badibanga, 32, was the victim of violence and strangulation. During this time, in France, the justice, of which other examinations could on the contrary attest the thesis of suicide, continues to investigate. “We have just ordered additional forensic expertise on the circumstances of the death,” announced this Wednesday at 20 minutes the public prosecutor of Nice, who also hopes to be able to go to the archipelago, with one of his deputies and investigators from Nice.

Subject to the authorization of this Indian Ocean state

“We are awaiting the return of a request for on-site transport”, specifies Xavier Bonhomme, explaining that it must be authorized by this state in the Indian Ocean. The prosecution has not yet received this approval, nor news concerning another request for “mutual legal assistance”, including “a request for investigative acts addressed to the judicial authorities of Seychelles”, also specifies the prosecutor.

In October, Xavier Bonhomme already indicated to 20 minutes that the French justice “did not find a certain number of elements which were recorded in the Seychelles”. Anatomopathological examinations carried out in Marseille confirmed “a hanging and no strangulation”. According to “the analysis of testimonies and video surveillance from Club Med”, the Niçois “was not in the room at the time of Emmanuelle’s death”, also assured Me Richard Sédillot, lawyer for Thomas Debatisse.

At the same time, other elements would pose questions to the local authorities. The judge who is to lead the debates next February must in particular hear the testimony of “a friend of the victim” to whom the latter would have communicated, by telephone just before her death, “of her desire to separate” from Thomas Debatisse, according to Seychelles News Agency. A verdict is expected to be announced before the end of February.

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