Death of singer Nafia Chaffa in Bobigny: at trial the two accused blame each other

Two men are on trial in Bobigny court this Friday, October 14, 2022 for the death of singer Nadia Chaffa in 2017. (©OK / news Seine-Saint-Denis)

One is an artist, the other a marginal. One lived under the light of Oriental music concerts, the other in the nocturnal darkness of the street. The only two things that bring you together Ali and Mehdi O.*, it’s their brotherly ties and the murder charge against them.

This Friday, October 14, 2022 marked the first day of the trial of the two men at the assizes of Bobigny in Seine-Saint-Denis for killing and butchering Algerian singer Nafia Chaffa. They incur life imprisonment.

Since the start of this sordid murder, the two accused have been pointing fingers at each other. Throughout this first day of hearing, the court returned to the personality and the life of these two brothers who are opposed to everything.

A passionate musician

The eldest of the two defendants is Ali O., aged around fifty. He discovered music at a very young age, notably when he saw Nafia Chaffa, the victim, playing at a wedding in Alger when he was only eight years old. The latter became his friend until the tragedy. Ali O. then fell in love with the piano, which he practices tirelessly.

He then came to live in France and tried to make a living from his artistic passion while completing computer studies. Ali O. will marry twice, despite the opposition of his family. He describes himself as jovial and good-natured. However, at the hearing and during his hearings, he appears to be very monotonous in his remarks. The Advocate General asks him questions about his musical passion, but he keeps the same breathless tone, without developing. In his speech, the contradictions are also numerous.

The arrival of Mehdi O.

In the early 2000s, Ali O. hosted his younger brother Mehdi. The latter, being eleven years younger, had a more difficult life. Fallen into the consumption of narcotics at a very young age, he was forced to leave Algeria after being molested and threatened by the Muslim Brotherhood while smoking cannabis. Arriving at his brother’s, he begins to use hard drugs. He is quickly kicked out.

He then saw odd jobs and then his brother associated him with the opening of a sandwich shop. This project fails. Medhi O. finds himself on the street again and Ali O. at the RSA. He tries to commit suicide. He comes out of it physically diminished, having to move around on a walker. After his convalescence, he lived for some time with the victim. “It was my eyes” explains the accused, while denying having had romantic feelings for her. He then moves into an apartment. His brother comes to help him regularly. “It was for squatting. He didn’t help me,” says Ali O, still in that same emotionless voice.

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Two versions of the murder

Then comes the drama. In December 2017, Nafia Chaffa was killed and her dismembered body was scattered in the Bois de Boulogne. The victim’s blood is found at Ali O.’s home, who is arrested. He explains that it was his brother who killed the singer, because the latter did not love him. He also says he saw Mehdi washing blood-soaked laundry in his bathtub, beating him and threatening him with death if he spoke about anything.

Mehdi O.’s story is quite different. In a slow voice, the latter explained to the court that he had been trapped and that his brother had made him take the blame: “He is a monster and a manipulator. He has already hurt me physically and psychologically. He is a psychopath”.

*Names have been changed.

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Death of singer Nafia Chaffa in Bobigny: at trial the two accused blame each other