A Paris court has found fourteen people guilty of involvement in a series of deadly militant Islamist attacks against the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket.
In January 2015, Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris, spraying gunfire and killing 12, nearly a decade after the weekly published cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.
A third attacker, Amedy Coulibaly, killed a police woman and then four Jewish hostages in a kosher supermarket in a Paris suburb. Like the Kouachis, Coulibaly was killed in a shootout with police.
Eleven defendants appeared in court for the verdict on Wednesday, and three were tried in absentia.
Among the 14 accomplices sentenced was Hayat Boumeddiene, the former partner of Coulibaly. Believed to be still alive and on the, prosecutors referred to her as an “Islamic State princess” and handed her 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.
Polat, described as Coulibaly’s right-hand man, had a pivotal role in preparing the attacks and a “precise knowledge of the terrorist plan”, prosecutors said. The 35-year-old admitted taking part in “scams” but denied any knowledge of the plot.
Charlie Hebdo marked the start of the trial in September 2020 by reprinting controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that sparked protests in several Muslim countries.
The following month, teacher Samuel Paty was murdered near his school by a Chechen, days after the teacher showed some of the cartoons to a class on free speech.
The trial has reopened one of modern France’s darkest episodes, just as another wave of Islamist attacks on home soil this year, prompted the government to crack down on what it calls Islamist separatism.
Rita Osakwe/Agency Reports