Trial for Accomplices in Charlie Hebdo Case Starts in Paris

A trial against the accomplices of Islamists who committed a series of terrorist attacks in January 2015 began in the Paris city court on Wednesday. The list of those accused includes those who opened fire at the editorial office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. 17 criminals, according to the investigation, are guilty of the death of 17 people.

Contrary to usual practice, this trial will be recorded for history, although the public will not see the footage without special permission from the justice system. In the hall of the new Palace of Justice, there are boxes on both sides, in which the accused are. On Wednesday they were brought under heavy guard from nearby prisons, where they are being held awaiting trial. The journalists watched the process on the TV screen.

On January 7, 8 and 9, 2015, France witnessed violent crimes. It began when the brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi burst into the editorial office of the weekly Charlie Hebdo. Charlie Hebdo had previously published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which radical Islamists considered blasphemous. On Wednesday, the day of the hearing, Charlie Hebdo re-published the same cartoons on its cover. Then, in January 2015, terrorists shot artists, journalists, proofreader, security guard, and then a policeman on the street. While the police were looking for the brothers, more murders followed in Paris. An accomplice of Kouachi brothers, Amedy Coulibaly, shot in the back a 27-year-old female police trainee, and then took visitors to the capital’s Jewish supermarket Hyper Cacher hostage, shooting four of them. In total, 17 people were killed these days.

The world was shocked by these terrorist attacks, the harbingers of November, when was the largest in the history of France series of terrorist attacks, which will already kill 130 people.

The terrorists themselves were killed. Kouachi brothers – in the printing house of the town of Dammartin-en-Goële, where they took refuge until the beginning of the assault; Amedy Coulibaly – at the door of a supermarket, when he was trying to break through the ranks of the special forces with a machine gun in his hands. Of the 17 people involved in this series of terrorist attacks, 14 survived: the court will determine how guilty they are. Three will be tried in absentia. They are Hayat Boumeddiene and Belhoucine brothers, who managed to leave for Syria.

Now they are being tried for assisting terrorists, the maximum punishment for this is 20 years in prison, but given the time spent in pre-trial detention, many have a chance to be released immediately after the verdict is announced.

The current hearings will last until November 10. Then, the court will announce how accomplices of the murderers will be punished. This week, accomplices of Amedy Coulibaly are tried. They will be followed by those suspected of helping Kouachi brothers, although their exact number has not been established. Later, at the beginning of next year, trials of those accused of the November 2015 terrorist attacks in the capital are expected.

Already in January 2015, the French authorities announced a set of anti-terrorist measures and allocated a budget of € 735 million for them. It was about strengthening the relevant units of law enforcement agencies, combating Islamization on the Internet, educational projects and working with Muslim communities throughout the country.


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