For three days of terror, from January 7 to 9, 2015, the brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly carried the jihadist fight on French soil, against freedom of expression, the police and the Jewish community, and killed 17 people, including cartoonists Cabu and Wolinski.
Their murderous and coordinated journey had ended with their death during a double police assault.
The president of the special assize court ruling on appeal, Jean-Christophe Hullin, declared the hearing open around 10:10 a.m.
The court began by verifying the identity of the two defendants, Ali Riza Polat and Amar Ramdani, then the constitutions of civil parties.
Only a small part of the nearly 300 civil parties took place in the courtroom. Among them, the director of the publication of Charlie Hebdo, Riss, injured in the attack on the editorial staff, the ex-columnist Sigolène Vinson, also a survivor of the attack, or the ex-hostage of Hyper Cacher Lassana Bathily.
Gala Renaud, widow of Michel Renaud, killed in the premises of Charlie Hebdo, entered with a poster bearing the photos of the victims.
The two defendants, two relatives of Amedy Coulibaly, are retried two years after their first trial. The court will have until October 21 to weigh the degree of responsibility of each in the preparation of the attacks.
Ali Riza Polat, a 37-year-old Franco-Turk against whom the heaviest charges weigh and who faces life imprisonment, had marked the first “historic” hearing with his outbursts and his invectives.
The judges had sentenced him to thirty years’ imprisonment for complicity in crimes committed by the Kouachi and Coulibaly.
Amar Ramdani had received the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for criminal terrorist association.
Both men have always disputed any connection to the attacks.
– Gray areas –
The first morning of the hearing must be devoted to the examination of procedural questions. The defense of Ali Riza Polat intends in particular to request the exploitation of documents neglected according to her at the time by the investigators.
Then the court, after reading a summary of the investigations, will look at the personality elements of the two defendants, before starting to examine the facts, from Tuesday.
The titanic investigation and the debates in the first instance did not make it possible to dissipate all the gray areas surrounding the attacks, from the arms circuit to the sponsors of the killings committed in the name of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqpa) for the Kouachi and the Islamic State (IS) for Coulibaly.
Ali Riza Polat is notably suspected of having organized the search for weapons for Amedy Coulibaly, a native like him of Grigny (Essonne), and of having intervened at all stages of the preparations for the attacks, which he rejects as a whole.
“This trial will be the ultimate opportunity to correct the errors of a judicial chain overwhelmed by the scale of these attacks, and to come to terms with the exact role of Mr. Polat, a common law offender to whom we wrongly attributed a role that he never played”, believe his lawyers, Mrs. Moad Nefati and Rachid Madid.
Amar Ramdani is accused of having supplied weapons to Amedy Coulibaly, whom he had known in prison, and of having financed the attacks, which he defends himself.
– “Useful” –
About 80 witnesses are summoned to appear. Among them, the majority of the nine men definitively sentenced at the end of the trial which was held in the fall of 2020, to sentences ranging from four to eighteen years in prison. None of them had appealed.
The relatives of the victims and the survivors of the attacks are expected from Thursday at the bar, from where they will bring to life the horror of the crimes which decimated the editorial staff of the satirical newspaper, killed a municipal police officer in Montrouge, as well as customers and employees. of a Jewish convenience store.
“There is a second trial, it’s difficult for us, it’s painful, but at least it has to be useful, it has to be used for something”, underlines Charlie’s lawyer before the hearing Hebdo, Me Richard Malka.
The January 2015 attacks marked the beginning of a disastrous series of jihadist attacks, with that of November 13, the trial of which ended in June, and that of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, currently on trial in the same palace. of righteousness.