A French judge has dropped terrorism charges against two men who were arrested in connection to a 2017 attack on Paris’s Orly airport, stating there were doubts about a terrorist motive.
The attacker, 39-year-old Ziyed Ben Belgacem, was shot and killed during the attack after attempting to seize a FAMAS assault rifle from a patrol of French air force soldiers after shouting: “Put down your weapons! Put your hands on your head! I am here to die for Allah. Whatever happens, there will be deaths.”
Shortly after the attack, two men were charged with involvement in the incident. The men, who were 30 and 43 years old at the time, were alleged to have supplied Ben Belgacem with the revolver he had attempted to use in the attack.
Now, the judge in the case has stated that evidence has revealed that Ben Belgacem was not on the French terror watchlist, known as the S-File, and tested positive for intoxication in his autopsy following the attack, all of which cast doubts on terrorism as his motive, Europe1 reports.
France Opens Nine Terrorism Investigations During Coronavirus Lockdown https://t.co/LBVIfnoyYQ
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Joseph Hazan, the lawyer for one of the men, said he was pleased with the judge’s move to drop the terrorism charges, saying his client had no idea the man he sold the weapon to had been radicalised.
“However, it was demonstrated throughout the investigation that this person himself presented no ideological adherence to the deadly ideology of the Islamic State and no will to carry out a terrorist attack,” he added.
“This analysis made by the investigating judge is a legal reasoning which allows the justice system to sort out what is terrorism and what is not,” Hazan said.
The Orly attack was one of several that took place in the early months of 2017, including an attack along the famous Champs Élysées that occurred at the same time as a televised debate during the French presidential election.