Two Turkish-origin men among 14 convicted in Charlie Hebdo trial

Nearly six years after Islamist extremists carried out attacks on the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish market, a French court has convicted 14 people, including two Turkish-origin men, as their accomplices. Ali Rıza Polat, described as the "right-hand man" of one of the attackers, received a 30-year prison sentence, whereas Metin Karasular received an eight-year prison sentence for being part of a criminal network.

People pay tribute to the victims of the January 2015 attacks.

Duvar English

A French court on Dec. 16 convicted 14 people of crimes ranging from financing terrorism to membership of a criminal gang in relation to Islamist attacks in 2015 against the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Jewish supermarket.

Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi stormed Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris, spraying gunfire and killing 12, on Jan. 7, 2015, nearly a decade after the weekly published cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.

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

Among the 14 accomplices sentenced on Dec. 16 was Ali Rıza Polat, a 35-year-old Frenchman of Turkish origin described as Coulibaly's "right-hand man."

Polat, the main defendant in the trial, was found guilty of "complicity" in "terrorist" crimes committed by the brothers Kouachi as well as Coulibaly, and received a 30-year prison sentence though prosecutors had called for a life sentence.

The prosecutors said that Polat had a pivotal role in preparing the attacks and had a "precise knowledge of the terrorist plan."

Another accomplice was Metin Karasular, a 50-year-old Belgian citizen of Turkish origin. Karasular was charged with being part of a criminal network as he tried to purchase weapons for the Kouachi brothers and Coulibal. He received an eight-year prison sentence though prosecutors had demanded at least 15 years.

Journalists from Charlie Hebo testified during the trial.

After the Dec. 16 ruling, the magazine’s lawyer, Richard Malka, described the defendants as part of a nebulous support network that enabled the attackers to spill blood.

On the eve of the trial’s opening, Charlie Hebdo, which has long tested the limits of what society will accept in the name of free speech, reprinted the cartoons that had stirred outrage in the Muslim world when they were first published by a Danish paper in 2005.