PARIS – The fugitive widow of an Islamic State gunman and a man described as its logistician were convicted on Wednesday of terrorism charges and sentenced to 30 years in prison in the trial of 14 people linked to the attacks of January 2015 in Paris against the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.
The verdict ends the three-month trial linked to the three days of murders in Paris jointly claimed by the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. During the proceedings, France has been hit by new attacks, a wave of coronavirus infections among the defendants, and devastating testimonies testifying to a bloodbath that continues to shake France.
Patrick Klugman, an attorney for survivors of the market attack, said the verdict sent a message to supporters. “We accuse the executioner, but in the end it’s worse to be his valet,” he said.
The three attackers died during police raids. The widow, Hayat Boumeddiene, fled to Syria and is believed to be still alive. The two men who took him out of France are believed to have died, although one was sentenced to life in prison in case and the other was sentenced separately.
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Eleven others were present and all were found guilty of the crime, with sentences ranging from 30 years for Boumeddiene and Ali Riza Polat. Amedy Coulibaly was sentenced to four years with a simple criminal conviction.
The attacks of January 7 to 9, 2015 in Paris left 17 dead with the three armed men. The 11 men on trial formed a circle of friends and criminal acquaintances who claimed that any facilitation they might have made was unintentional.
We played day and night for the three day period, only learning what happened after we got out of the casino. Another was an ambulance driver. A third was a childhood friend of the market attacker, who was beaten by the latter for debt.
It was Polat’s coronavirus infection that forced the trial to stay for a month.
Polat’s lawyer, Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, described him as a scapegoat who knew nothing about Coulibaly’s plans. She said he would appeal.
In all, investigators sifted through 37 million bits of telephone data, according to video testimony from the judicial police. Among the handcuffed men behind the closed courtroom bleachers, flanked by masked and armed officers, there were several who had exchanged dozens of texts or calls with Coulibaly in the days leading up to the attack. .
Also testified were the widows of Cherif and Said Kouachi, the brothers who stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015, attacking the newspaper’s editorial staff in what they called an act of revenge for its publication of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad from years ago. . The desks had already been set on fire and weren’t marked, and the editors had 24-hour protection. But that wasn’t enough.
In all, 12 people died that day. The first was Frédéric Boisseau, who worked in maintenance. Then the Kouachis grabbed Corinne Rey, a cartoonist who had gone to smoke, and forced her to set the door code. She watched in horror as they opened fire on the editorial meeting.
The next day, Coulibaly shot and killed a young policewoman after failing to attack a Jewish community center on the outskirts of Montrouge.
Authorities did not immediately link the shooting to the Charlie Hebdo attack. They were getting closer to the Kouachis when the first alerts were reported by an armed man in a kosher supermarket. Coulibaly entered, carrying a rifle, pistols and explosives. With a GoPro camera attached to his chest, he shot an employee and a customer, then killed a second customer before ordering a cashier to close the store’s metal blinds.
About 40 km away, the Kouachi brothers were stuck in a printing press with their own hostages. Ultimately, all three attackers died in near-simultaneous police raids. It was the first attack in Europe claimed by the Islamic State group.
Prosecutors said the Kouachis essentially self-funded their attack, while Coulibaly and his wife took out fraudulent loans. Boumeddiene, the only woman on trial, fled to Syria days before the attack and appeared in Islamic State propaganda.
Three weeks after the trial began, on September 25, a Pakistani man steeped in radical Islam and armed with a butcher’s knife attacked two people outside the liberated Charlie Hebdo offices.
Six weeks after the start of the trial, on October 16, a French teacher who opened a debate on freedom of expression by showing students the caricatures of Muhammad was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen refugee.