Charlie Hebdo trial: French court sentences 14 people over 2015 terror attacks

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The terror trial of 14 people suspected of ties to the January 2015 Paris attacks at Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket are slated to come to a close on Wednesday.

17 people were murdered on a three-days series of attacks where the three main assailants were killed in shootouts with the police, leaving only accomplices to face trial.

Régis de Jorna, president of the special assize court panel of five judges, announced the sentences at the end of a 54-day trial during which 11 people were on the dock, while three were absent.

The defendants were found guilty on different charges in which one of them is membership of a criminal network.

But terrorism charges were dropped for some of the defendants who were found guilty of lesser crimes.

Hayat Boumeddiene, the fugitive wife of attacker Amédy Coulibaly, received a 30-year prison sentence. In contrast, the principal defendant Ali Riza Polat received the same sentence after found guilty of “complicity” in Kouachi brothers and Coulibaly.

Samia Maktouf, a lawyer for one of the attack survivors, stated:

“Since 2012, terrorism capitalised on the prevailing delinquency there is around these terrorists.”

“They are not second fiddles. They are full accomplices. You know, when you provide a weapon, it’s not to go and party.”

The Charlie Hebdo attack happened on the day of the first weekly editorial sessions of New Year’s Day, 7 January 2015.

Brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi broke into Charlie Hebdo office in Paris’s central 11th arrondissement, killing nine newspaper staff, a building maintenance worker, and a police officer.

They killed a second police officer before disappeared with a getaway vehicle.

The paper was previously gutted in a 2011 firebomb attack after decided to publish controversial Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. The brothers had claimed the magazine had insulted Muslims by publishing the cartoons.

On 8 January 2015, an allegiance to Islamic State Amédy Coulibaly shot a trainee municipal police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe.

Later that day, the brothers were being discovered in a printing works north of Paris, while another Islamic-state defendant Amédy Coulibaly rushed into the Hyper Cacher supermarket.

Coulibaly killed four Jewish people and took hostages of the market’s staff and shoppers. All three terrorists were shot dead by the police, respectively.

Since September 2020, the suspects in the January attacks have been on trial, and the court heard from 144 witnesses, 14 experts, and 200 interested parties, mostly the victims’ friends and relatives.

As the trial went on, France was hit by more terror attacks in September 25, October 16, and October 30, resulting in two people injured and four people murdered.

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