A French court on Wednesday handed down prison sentences ranging from four years to life imprisonment to 14 defendants considered to be accomplices in the attacks from January 7 to 9, 2015 in the Ile-de-France region, including Paris, which left 17 dead in the hands of terrorists.
The trial opened on September 2 for the group of 14, accused of aiding and abetting the brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly, who stormed the Paris offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo le January 7, 2015, killing 12 staff. and injuring 11 others following the newspaper’s publication of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and other leaders of Islam.
In the days that followed, a policewoman in a Paris suburb and four other people from the kosher Hyper Cacher supermarket in an eastern suburb were also killed by the Kouachis and Coulibaly. All three were shot dead by police during the incident.
Verdicts were handed down by the president of the court, Regis de Jorna, to the 11 defendants present at the trial. Chief among them was the main defendant, Ali Riza Polat, 35, who was sentenced to 30 years for complicity in terrorist crimes committed by the Kouachis and Coulibaly. Riza Polat would have had “sufficient knowledge of the latter’s project”, referring to Coulibaly, whom he would have helped.
The verdict was due on November 10 but had been the subject of continuous delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and especially Riza Polat having caught the virus.
Last week, the attorneys general called for a “firm and balanced” response in this case and requested the life imprisonment of Riza Polat, a man of French and Turkish descent who allegedly helped with logistics and planning, weaponry and financing attacks.
Coulibaly’s wife and co-aggressor Hayat Boumeddiene was sentenced to 30 years in prison with a two-thirds security period, charged with “criminal terrorist association” and “terrorist financing” for carrying out the executions on the Hyper Cacher market. Boumeddiene was not present at the trial but is believed to be in Syria.
The Assize Court is the only French court to have a jury trial. Some 144 witnesses were expected to have participated in the past three months, including survivors, with 14 experts present to assess the evidence presented.
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