SUSPECTED French terrorist Willie Brigitte has retracted statements about his knowledge of a possible bomb plot in Australia, according to French judicial sources.
In his first detailed interrogation by investigating magistrate judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere about his activities in Australia, Brigitte went back on his initial statements made in October to officers of the French counter-espionage service, the DST.
At the closed-door hearing this week, Brigitte said the Pakistani national in Sydney who uses the alias Abu Hamza, who is at the centre of Australian investigations into an alleged foiled terrorist plot, had never told him about an explosives expert coming to Sydney.
According to his initial statements, Brigitte said the explosives expert might have been a Chechen named Abou Salah, whom he met in a training camp in Pakistan.
Brigitte also denied all statements French police say were made by his Australian wife, Melanie Brown, who was detained and questioned recently by French authorities before visiting her husband in a Paris prison.
The judicial sources said that in his latest interrogation by Judge Bruguiere, Brigitte claimed he spoke to Ms Brown about the US-Australian spy base at Pine Gap only because he and his wife were both ex-service personnel.
In contradiction to his wife’s testimony, he claimed he did not receive a mysterious visitor every morning with whom he surfed the internet.
He said that, unlike Ms Brown’s reported testimony, he had never burnt his passport with his Pakistani visa; he said he simply lost it. He was just burning papers on which were written prayers and religious phrases in the name of Allah.