France to try ’14 people over January 2015 Paris attacks’

French anti-terror judges have recommended that 14 people be tried in connection with the January 2015 jihadist attacks in and around Paris, a judicial source told AFP Friday.

France to try '14 people over January 2015 Paris attacks'
A woman holds a lit candle next to a sign reading "I am Charlie" during a rally commemorating the anniversary of the deadly attack against Charlie Hebdo
The attacks against the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, a police woman in the nearby suburb of Montrouge, and a Jewish supermarket killed 17 people and marked the start of a wave of jihadist attacks in France.
Eleven people are in custody suspected of assisting in the attacks, while another three are wanted by police.
Under French law, they can appeal the decision to send them to trial.
The trial, whose date will be determined at a later date, will come more than four years after brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi killed 12 people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015.
The next day a policewoman was gunned down just outside Paris, while another gunman, Amedy Coulibaly, took hostages at a Jewish Hyper Cacher shop, four of whom were killed.
All three attackers were killed in two separate shootouts with police.
Those to be tried are accused of “complicity” in assisting the attackers, including providing them with weapons.
Judicial sources said investigations in connection with the attacks were continuing, notably in Yemen, which one of the Kouachi brothers visited in 2011.
Responsibility for the attack against Charlie Hebdo was claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an offshoot of the main Al-Qaeda organisation

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US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks

US Vice President Kamala Harris and French Prime Minister Jean Castex laid wreaths at a Paris cafe and France's national football stadium Saturday six years since deadly terror attacks that left 130 people dead.

US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks
US Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff lay flowers after ceremonies at Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, at which 130 people were killed during the 2015 Paris terror attacks. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/POOL/AFP

The attacks by three separate teams of Islamic State group jihadists on the night of November 13, 2015 were the worst in France since World War II.

Gunmen mowed down 129 people in front of cafes and at a concert hall in the capital, while a bus driver was killed after suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates of the stadium in its suburbs.

Harris, wrapping up a four-day trip to France, placed a bouquet of white flowers in front of a plaque honouring the victims outside a Paris cafe.

Castex attended a minute of silence at the Stade de France football stadium, along with Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, before laying wreaths at the sites of the other attacks inside Paris.

In front of the Bataclan concert hall, survivors and relatives of the victims listened to someone read out the names of each of the 90 people killed during a concert there six years ago.

Public commemorations of the tragedy were called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year we weren’t allowed to come and we all found it really tough,” said Bruno Poncet, who made it out alive of the Bataclan.

But he said the start of a trial over the attacks in September meant that those attending the commemoration this year felt more united.

‘Overcome it all’

“We’ve really bonded thanks to the trial,” he said. “During previous commemorations, we’d spot each other from afar without really daring to speak to each other. We were really shy. But standing up in court has really changed everything.”

The marathon trial, the biggest in France’s modern legal history, is expected to last until May 2022.

Twenty defendants are facing sentences of up to life in prison, including the sole attacker who was not gunned down by police, Salah Abdeslam, a French-Moroccan national who was captured in Brussels. Six of the defendants are being tried in absentia.

Poncet said he felt it was crucial that he attend the hearings. “I can’t possibly not. It’s our lives that are being discussed in that room, and it’s important to come to support the others and to try to overcome it all.”

Survivors have taken to the witness stand to recount the horror of the attacks, but also to describe life afterwards.

Several said they had been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, grappling with survivor’s guilt, or even feeling alienated from the rest of society.

Saturday’s commemorations are to wrap up with a minute of silence at the Stade de France in the evening before the kick-off for a game between France and Kazakhstan.

It was during a football match between France and Germany that three suicide bombers blew themselves up in 2015.

Then-French president Francois Hollande was one of the 80,000 people in the crowd, before he was discreetly whisked away to avoid triggering mass panic.