Dhe jury court in Paris found the 11 accomplices of the Islamist assassins of January 2015 guilty on Wednesday. After more than 50 days of the trial, the judges found the defendants’ complicity in the murders in the editorial office of “Charlie Hebdo” and in the hostage-taking in a Jewish supermarket as proven. The suspicion of the terrorist organization could only be substantiated in six cases – Mickael Pastor Alwatik, Amar Ramdani and Willy Prévost and the three accused on the run.
The verdict was followed in the courtroom by survivors and relatives of the thirteen people killed in the terrorist attacks on January 7, 8 and 9, 2015. The presiding judge regretted that only one procedural error had led to the fact that the anti-Semitic character of the hostage-taking in the Jewish supermarket could not be taken into account. He said that terrorist Amédy Coulibaly “very likely” wanted to attack a Jewish school but was prevented from doing so by the intervention of traffic police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe. The choice of the victims – journalists, police officers and citizens of Jewish faith – “testifies to the will to spread terror,” said the judge.
Friends with the assassin
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin rated the process as “historic”. With the verdict, “the cycle of violence that began in the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo”, wrote editor-in-chief Laurent Sourisseau under his stage name Riss on Wednesday who are holding this extremely lively newspaper in their hands, and that six years after the massacre, ”he wrote in the issue at the end of the trial.
The main accused was 35-year-old Ali Riza Polat, who was convicted of “accessory to murder”. He was acquitted of suspicion of membership in a terrorist organization. Polat was friends with the terrorist Amédy Coulibaly, who shot and killed a policewoman in Montrouge and took customers hostage in a Jewish supermarket at Porte de Vincennes, killing four of them.
After the terrorist attacks, Polat tried to escape to Syria via Lebanon. The man with Turkish-French citizenship had caused quite a stir during the trial. He had to be called to order repeatedly by the presiding judge.
Proud of arms and drug trafficking
The process had to be interrupted after he and other defendants fell ill with Covid-19. Upon returning to the courtroom, Polat complained of persistent nausea. However, an expert opinion concluded that he was able to negotiate. Polat ostentatiously lay down on a bench or spat into a bowl several times. On the last day of the trial, he said he couldn’t apologize for something he hadn’t done. He denied knowing about his friend’s terrorist plans.
The other defendants, who, like Polat, sat in a glass box in the courtroom, also claim that they had nothing to do with terrorism. Most of them did not deny that they were involved in arms or drug trafficking. Some even proudly said how well they earned. Only one of the eleven suspects present, Christophe Raumel, is currently no longer in custody.