As they fled the scene, the brothers killed a policeman who had been posted on duty outside the building, following numerous threats to the newspaper.These threats were linked to the publication by Charlie Hebdo of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Many Muslims consider any portrayal of the Prophet’s likeness to be sacrilege, and millions of people have been offended by the cartoons.
At the opening of the trial on Wednesday, the newspaper republished some of the cartoons, under the title: “Tout ça pour ça” (Tout ça pour ça).
The newspaper now operates in a secret and heavily guarded location, and its journalists continue to receive threats, but its provocative director Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau, who was injured in the attack, swore in the new edition: “We do not will never give in. . And we will never give up. ”
It took five and a half years for the case to be judged. Meanwhile, investigators have pieced together the chain of events that led to the attacks, first against the Charlie Hebdo offices and then two days later in a Jewish supermarket in the Paris suburbs.
Initially, police believed the second attack was the work of an impersonator. However, when drawing up their case, investigators found that the two were closely coordinated and that brothers Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly – who killed a policewoman on January 8, then four men during the hostage-taking in the Hyper Cacher supermarket on January 9 – had several accomplices in common.
14 people are on trial accused of helping the Kouachi and Coulibaly brothers. They face a range of charges including material support, funding, the purchase of weapons and the purchase of a getaway car for the attackers. They face sentences ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment.
Only 11 of the defendants were in court on Wednesday. Two of the other three are missing,. The third, Coulibaly’s religious wife, was reportedly seen a few months ago in an ISIS camp in Syria.
In a rare ruling for a terrorism trial in France, judges agreed that the High Security Tribunal proceedings would be filmed for posterity. There is no live broadcast from inside the court, this practice being prohibited by French law.
Few people will be allowed in the courtroom, where anti-coronavirus measures have halved the number of seats available for the press, the public and the more than 200 civil parties to the case. These civil parties include some of those taken hostage at the Jewish supermarket and relatives of the 17 people killed in the three attacks.
“This trial is an important moment for them [victims and survivors]”, Declared Marie-Laure Barré and Nathalie Senyk, lawyers of the victims of the attack against Charlie Hebdo, in a statement to the French press agency AFP.” They are waiting for justice to be done, to know who did what, knowing that those who pulled the trigger are no longer there. ”
A total of 144 witnesses and 14 experts will be called during the track, which is expected to last 11 weeks and end on November 10.