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French Court Convicts Accomplices of Charlie Hebdo Attackers

By VOA News December 16, 2020

A French court has convicted 14 accomplices in connection with the January 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

Among those convicted was Hayat Boumeddiene, the former partner of Islamist militant Amedy Coulibaly, who was linked to the gunmen responsible for the Charlie Hebdo attack.

Coulibaly fatally shot a policewoman 24 hours after the attack and was killed a day later on January 9 by security forces during a siege at a Jewish supermarket.

Authorities believe Boumeddiene, one of three suspects to be tried in absentia, is alive and avoiding arrest under an international warrant issued in Syria, where she joined IS.

The Paris trial began in September, with 14 alleged associates of the jihadist terrorists facing charges of allegedly helping them carry out several attacks.

The attack at Charlie Hebdo's offices was the first in a series of attacks over three days in January 2015, marking the beginning of a surge in violence by IS in Europe.

Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi went on a rampage in the magazine's offices on January 7, shooting 12 people to death in the name of al-Qaida before fleeing. The magazine had published caricatures of Prophet Muhammad years before.

Two days later, on the eve of the Jewish Sabbath, Coulibaly, a Malian French man, attacked the a kosher supermarket, killing four hostages in the name of Islamic State, as the Kouachi brothers seized control of a printing office outside Paris. The attackers were killed that day during police raids.

A separate network of French and Belgian fighters for IS attacked Paris again later in 2015, killing 130 people at the Bataclan concert hall, the national stadium and in bars and restaurants.

The 14 accomplices on trial were convicted on different charges, including helping with the logistics of the January 2015 attacks and buying weapons and cars. Terrorism-related charges were dropped for several defendants who were convicted of lesser crimes.

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