It is the story of a door that has symbolic value. On January 26, 2019, in the early morning, three individuals stole a back door of the Bataclan concert hall, covered with a stencil painting attributed to the enigmatic British street-art artist Banksy. After 3 days of trial, 18 months to four years in prison for theft or concealment were required on Friday June 10 against eight men, aged 31 to 58, involved in the case.
Entitled “The sad girl”, the famous painting, affixed in June 2018 to the door of the Bataclan, represents a young woman, head bowed, visibly in mourning. The location was not chosen at random: it was by taking this emergency exit that some Bataclan spectators had, on the evening of November 13, 2015, managed to escape the terrorists. “The theft of this door aroused very strong emotion and a major disturbance to public order”estimated the prosecutor Valérie Cadignan in her requisitions.
A villainous flight
After the trial, however, “we all agree that it was not a question of profaning, but of making a profit by being aware of the inestimable value of this door”. “Priceless” because “from one of the most highly rated artists in the world” and “charged with an important power of evocation of memory”underlined the representative of the prosecution.
The magistrate asked for six years in prison, including three firm, as well as a fine of €150,000, for Mehdi Meftah, described as “sponsor” : “all roads lead” to this man who became a millionaire in 2017 after winning the lottery and who had launched a luxury T-shirt brand before this case, said the prosecutor.
Final decision on June 23
Penalties ranging from 18 months to two years firm, accompanied by a fine of €1,500 to €50,000, were required against a “evacuator”of them “carriers” and an “nurse”owner of a hotel in Italy where the work was stored and who then moved it to a nearby farm, where it was discovered on June 10, 2020.
Some of the respondents had no “not aware” of “symbolism” of the stencil, at the time of the facts, specified the lawyer of one of the defendants. “When you see the Banksy prices, it’s overpriced. I did not think of the symbol, of the victims”, declared one of them a little earlier, confirming the villainous aspect of the theft. This is not the first time that a work by the artist has been stolen. In 2013, a mural had vanished to end up in an auction. In the Bataclan case, the court will deliver its decision on June 23.