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CRIME

Two injured in knife attack in Paris close to former Charlie Hebdo offices

Two people were left injured in a knife attack in Paris on Friday outside the former offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French anti-terror police have taken charge of the investigation.

Two injured in knife attack in Paris close to former Charlie Hebdo offices
Police say a suspect has been arrested and they are not seeking anyone else. Photo: AFP

The attack happened late on Friday morning on Rue Nicolas Appert, just off Boulevard Richard Lenoir in the 11th arrondissement, close to the former offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The attack occurred as the trial was underway for the alleged accomplices of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack.

French anti-terror police have taken charge of the investigation.

 

One person, described by police as the “main author” of the attack was arrested in the Bastille area of the city and no other suspects were being sought. The suspect was known to police and had a criminal past, according to reports.

A second person was later arrested in connection with the attack in the same area. It was not immediately clear why the second suspect was held.

It was initially reported that four people had been injured, two seriously, but police later corrected this information and said only two people – a man and a woman – had sustained injuries. Their condition was reported as serious but not life-threatening.

The two injured, a man and a woman worked for a documentary production company named Premieres Lignes.

They were smoking in the street outside their office, which was also once home to the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo when the attacker approached and assaulted them with a blade, prosecutors said.

Luc Hermann from Premieres Lignes told BFM TV that staff were left traumatised by the “extremely violent” attack. He said the company had not previously been subject to any kind of threat.

A reported suspicious package found near the scene was also examined but proved not to be sinister.

 
Two of the injured were reported as being in a serious condition. Photo: AFP
 
The public were told to avoid the area which was the scene of a huge police presence. 

Schools in the 11th, 3rd and 4th arrondissements went into lockdown with all children kept inside the area was secured. Later on Friday parents were told they could pick up their children.

 

The magazine's office was the scene of a terror attack in 2015 in which 12 people were killed by Islamic extremists.

The attack happened on Rue Nicolas Appert, which is the site of a memorial to the murdered journalists and cartoonists. Photo: AFP

The stabbing came as a trial was underway in the capital for alleged accomplices of the authors of the January 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo.

Twelve people, including some of France's most celebrated cartoonists, were killed in the attack by brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and claimed by a branch of Al Qaeda.

A female police officer was killed a day later, followed the next day by the killing of four men in a hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket by gunman Amedy Coulibaly.

The 14 defendants stand accused of having aided and abetted the perpetrators of the 2015 attacks, who were themselves killed in the wake of the massacres.

The magazine, defiant as ever, had marked the start of the trial by republishing hugely controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that had angered Muslims around the world.

Al-Qaeda then threatened Charlie Hebdo with a repeat of the 2015 massacre of its staff.

The trial in Paris had resumed Friday after a suspect's coronavirus test came back negative.

The hearing for the fourteen suspects, which opened on September 2, was postponed Thursday after Nezar Mickael Pastor Alwatik fell ill in the stand.

His lawyer Marie Dose said her client had suffered from “a lot of fever, coughing, vomiting and headaches”.

He was back in the box on Friday, after the presiding judge informed defence and prosecution lawyers by SMS late Thursday that the test results allowed for the trial to go ahead.

 

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CRIME

French court orders partial release for convicted Corsican nationalist

A French court on Tuesday ordered the partial release of a Corsican nationalist who has served 24 years in jail for the 1998 murder of a top French official.

French court orders partial release for convicted Corsican nationalist

Under the ruling, Pierre Alessandri will be allowed out of jail to work for a landscaping company in the daytime and will be granted a full conditional release in a year if he behaves well.

The relaxation of Alessandri’s conditions of detention came amid tensions between the Mediterranean island’s pro-autonomy leaders and the French state, after a fellow Corsican detained in the same case was killed in a French prison in March.

Alessandri and a third Corsican detainee were transferred from mainland France to a jail in Corsica in April after the murder of Yvan Colonna.

The Paris appeals court granted Alessandri “a probationary partial release” of 12 months from February 13, the prosecutor-general Remy Heitz said.

If he behaves well, he would then be granted “conditional release” for another ten years, he said.

Alessandri’s lawyer Eric Barbolosi hailed the ruling as a “great relief”.

“For the first time in a court of appeals, the magistrates made a decision based on the criteria necessary for a conditional release, not the particular nature of the case,” he said.

Alessandri had served enough time to be eligible for such a release by 2017, and had already petitioned to be freed three times.

But national anti-terror prosecutors objected, and an appeals court barred his release.

The country’s highest court then quashed one of these decisions, ordering the Paris appeals court to re-examine it.

Colonna, a former goat herder, was announced dead on March 21 after an Islamist extremist who accused him of blasphemy strangled and suffocated him in a prison in the southern town of Arles in mainland France.

He was detained in 2003 after four years on the run, and sentenced in 2007, and then again in 2011, to life in jail over the killing in 1998 of the French government prefect of Corsica, Claude Erignac.

The killing was the most shocking of a series of attacks by pro-independence militant group FLNC.

Alessandri and another nationalist, Alain Ferrandi, had already been sentenced to life in jail in 2003 over the murder.

Ferrandi, who was transferred to the same Corsican jail, has also requested to be released on parole, and a decision is due on February 23rd.

Colonna’s murder sparked violent protests in Corsica.

It galvanised the nationalist movement and led President Emmanuel Macron’s government to offer talks about giving greater political autonomy to the territory.

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