PARIS – The fugitive widow of an Islamic State gunman and a man described as his logistician were convicted Wednesday of terrorism charges and sentenced to 30 years in prison in the trial of 14 people linked to the January 2015 Paris attacks against the satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a kosher supermarket.
The verdict ends the three-month trial linked to the three days of killings across Paris claimed jointly by the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. During the proceedings, France was struck by new attacks, a wave of coronavirus infections among the defendants, and devastating testimony bearing witness to bloodshed that continues to shake France.
Patrick Klugman, a lawyer for the survivors of the market attack, said the verdict sent a message to sympathizers. “We accuse the executioner but ultimately it is worse to be his valet,” he said.
All three attackers died in police raids. The widow, Hayat Boumeddiene, fled to Syria and is believed to still be alive. The two men who spirited her out of France are thought to be dead, although one received a sentence of life in prison just in case and the other was convicted separately.
Eleven others were present and all were convicted of the crime, with sentences ranging from 30 years for Boumeddiene and Ali Riza Polat, described as the lieutenant of the virulently anti-Semitic market attacker, Amédy Coulibaly, to four years with a simple criminal conviction.
The Jan. 7-9, 2015, attacks in Paris left 17 dead along with the three gunmen. The 11 men standing trial formed a loose circle of friends and criminal acquaintances who claimed any facilitating they may have done was unwitting.
One gambled day and night during the three-day period, learning what had happened only after emerging blearily from the casino. Another was a pot-smoking ambulance driver. A third was a childhood friend of the market attacker, who got beaten to a pulp by the latter over a debt.
It was the coronavirus infection of Polat that forced the suspension of the trial for a month.