A Paris court has found 14 people guilty of involvement in the three days deadly militant Islamist attacks infamously known as the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015 that involved attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine, a policewoman and a Jewish supermarket that killed 17 people.
On 7 January 2015 at about 11:30am local time, two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Armed with rifles and other weapons, they killed 12 people and injured 11 others. The gunmen identified themselves as belonging to the terrorist group al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula, which took responsibility for the attack. Several related attacks followed in the Île-de-France region on 7–9 January 2015, including the Hypercacher kosher supermarket siege where a terrorist held 19 hostages, of whom he murdered four Jewish people.
France raised its terror alert and deployed soldiers in Île-de-France and Picardy. A major police search led to the discovery of the suspects, who exchanged fire with police.
The brothers took hostages at a signage company in Dammartin-en-Goële on 9 January and were shot dead when they emerged from the building.
On 11 January same year, about two million people, including more than 40 world leaders, met in Paris for a rally of national unity, and 3.7 million people joined demonstrations across France.
The phrase ‘Je suis Charlie’ became a common slogan at the rallies and in social media. Charlie Hebdo continued with the publication, and the following issue print ran 7.95 million copies in six languages, compared to its typical print run of 60,000 in only French.
Later in 2012, Charlie Hebdo, a critical magazine once published cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, forcing France to temporarily close embassies and schools in more than 20 countries amid fears of reprisals. Charlie Hebdo offices had been firebombed in November 2011 after publishing a previous caricature of Muhammad on its cover.
Fast forward to Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 14 suspects found guilty, out of the 14, 11 defendants appeared in court while three were tried in absentia.
One of those not in court was Hayat Boumeddiene, the fugitive partner of Amedy Coulibaly who was killed in the attack on the supermarket.
Boumeddiene, who fled to Syria a week before the attacks, was found guilty of financing terrorism and belonging to a criminal terrorist network. She was handed a 30-year jail sentence.
The main defendant in court, Ali Riza Polat, was found guilty of complicity in terrorist crime and also given a 30-year jail term.
All 14 accomplices were found guilty on various charges, ranging from belonging to a criminal network to direct complicity in the January 2015 attacks. Terrorism charges were dropped for six of the 11 defendants in court who were found guilty of lesser crimes.
by Lucky B.