A French court has ruled on a case involving 14 accomplices of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terror attackers, finding several of them guilty of terrorist offences, handing out sentences ranging from four years to life in prison.
The trial, which has been ongoing since September, concluded on Wednesday with all the defendants found guilty of various crimes related to the massacre perpetrated by the brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi and the kosher market attack committed by Amedy Coulibaly in January 2015. Police had shot dead all three terrorists.
Nezar Mickael Pastor Alwatik, Amar Ramdani, and Willy Prevost were found guilty of criminal terrorist association. Said Makhlouf, Mohamed Fares, Abdelaziz Abbad, Metin Karasular, Miguel Martinez, Michel Catino, and Christophe Raumel were found guilty of criminal association.
Ali Riza Polat, the main defendant in the case, was acquitted of criminal terrorist association, but found guilty of complicity to murder, according to French broadcaster BFMTV. Prosecutors had demanded a life sentence, but he was instead handed 30 years.
During sentencing, the judges said that Polat had provided “decisive logistical assistance to Coulibaly”.
“The court determined that he had sufficient knowledge of his intentions,” the judges continued, adding: “There were many contacts between Coulibaly and Polat in the days leading up to the incident.”
Polat made headlines in October after threatening a female investigator in court as she was giving testimony.
Charlie Hebdo Attack Trial Suspect Threatens Policewoman in Court https://t.co/RTGlrfTy8j
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 18, 2020
While the trial saw the prosecution of 14 Islamic extremists, only 11 defendants appeared in court, with three others trialled in their absence.
The brothers Mohamed and Mehdi Belhoucine, who were both connected to the kosher supermarket attack following the Charlie Hebdo massacre, had absconded after the shootings and are believed to have both died fighting for Islamic State in Syria.
Mohamed Belhoucine was found guilty of complicity in Coulibaly’s attack on the Jewish supermarket and sentenced to life in prison. His brother Mehdi had already been tried and convicted in absentia in January for criminal conspiracy.
The widow of Coulibaly, Hayat Boumeddiene, was also missing from court and police are still actively searching for her. She was found guilty in absentia of financing terrorism and association with terrorist criminals and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
From Charlie Hebdo To Nice: 5 Years of Islamist Terror https://t.co/qZSv67d6Bp
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 29, 2020
The man who provided the weapons to Coulibaly, a Lille neo-nazi arms dealer and former gendarme informant named Claude Hermant, was recently released from prison after serving a sentence related to another arms dealing case, but was not included in the recent trial.
In October, Hermant spoke out about the massacre saying: “These weapons were easily traced, the police services were on it.”
He added: “I don’t understand how these attacks could not have been stopped.”
The weapons used by the Kouachi brothers were deemed to be untraceable, however.
The Charlie Hebdo terror attack claimed the lives of 12 people, most of the victims being employees of the satirical magazine that had angered Muslims after publishing cartoons of their prophet, Mohammed.
The subsequent Hypercacher kosher market attack perpetrated by Coulibaly claimed the lives of four Jewish people. The Islamist had also killed a policewoman before launching his assault. In total, the three terrorists killed 17 individuals.
Shortly before the trial, Charlie Hebdo republished the Mohammed cartoons, which led to an 18-year-old Pakistani migrant committing a stabbing attack outside the former offices of the magazine, injuring two. He was unaware that the office had moved, and sources close to the investigation said the suspect admitted it was a revenge attack.
The Mohammed cartoons were also directly related to the murder of teacher Samuel Paty in October who was beheaded in the street by a Chechen refugee after showing them to his class during a lesson on freedom of expression.
Father of Paris Charlie Hebdo Attacker Claims To Be ‘Proud’ Of His Actions https://t.co/ue1rd7TCuu
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 30, 2020