Two students and an officer sentenced after the death of a cadet

Seven soldiers from the Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan school are tried by the Rennes Criminal Court, eight years after the drowning of officer cadet Jallal Hami. – S. Salom Gomis / AFP

  • Seven soldiers from the Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan school, in Morbihan, were tried for manslaughter after the death of a student officer.
  • A first year pupil, Jallal Hami had drowned during a “bahutage” exercise to cross a pond in the middle of the night.
  • The activity organized by the second year students had put several participants in great difficulty.

It took Jallal Hami’s family to wait eight years for answers. In October 2012, this 24-year-old cadet was killed during of a test of crossing a body of water organized in the middle of the night as part of
an exercise in “transmission of traditions”. Eight years after the drama that shook
Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan military school (Morbihan), three men were sentenced by the Rennes criminal court. Justice has found two cadets guilty of manslaughter. Marc Assier de Pompignan was sentenced to six months suspended prison and Hugues Devolve to eight months suspended prison sentence. Colonel Hervé Wallerand received a six-month suspended sentence. The other three cadets and the other member of the hierarchy were released.

When the deliberation was announced, Rachid Hami stood up and addressed the judges, throwing them: “I thank you for having betrayed my brother. You disappointed me and you disappointed our justice ”, launched the brother of the victim.

“A man died because I lacked moral strength. Captain Assier de Pompignan did not hide during his hearing in court in November. A second year student, he was the “system father” of the promotion and one of the main organizers of this “bahutage” night. Among the seven accused, he was one of the only ones to admit his faults. The others had all tried to clear customs, throwing responsibility between cadets and hierarchy. “In Saint-Cyr, nothing happens like elsewhere,” summarized General Francis Chanson. The one who then headed the prestigious military school was the only one of the seven defendants for whom
the public prosecutor had requested the release. “The transmission of traditions without effective control would sooner or later lead to the death of a student,” had launched Philippe Astruc to justify his requests for conviction for the six other defendants.

” I’m out of breath. It’s impossible to swim ”

A first year student, Jallal Hami had drowned during the night crossing of a pond in water at 9 degrees in the grounds of the military school. It took more than an hour for the organizers to alert the hierarchy of the disappearance of the young officer cadet. The autopsy will confirm death by drowning. ” I’m out of breath. The muscles are compressed. My body tends to stay upright because of the rangers. It’s impossible to swim, ”explained one of the participants after the event.

During the five days of the trial, the lawyer for Jallal Hami’s family had tried to demonstrate the responsibility of each other. “This activity was out of control, out of regulation. The investigation proved that this crossing was deliberately dangerous and that it should not have taken place, ”said Me Jean-Guillaume Le Mintier. “Jallal was left in icy water. There is a lack of security, preparation, security and intelligence ”. Eight years after the tragedy, Jallal Hami’s family will be able to close the judicial chapter, unless an appeal comes to keep it open.

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