At first instance, in December 2020, this offender who has always denied being a “terrorist” was sentenced to thirty years’ imprisonment.
The Paris special assize court ruling on appeal increased this sentence, following the requisitions of the general prosecutor’s office who asked him to “protect” society from a man of “extreme danger” and to “send a clear message” to those who would be “tempted to help a terrorist”.
The professional magistrates have combined this sentence with a security period of twenty years.
After six weeks of debate and more than nine hours of deliberation, Ali Riza Polat, a 37-year-old Franco-Turkish man, broad in a white sweatshirt, got up after the verdict was announced and pretended to leave. the box, before sitting down again.
In the courtroom, the handful of civil parties present welcomed the verdict in a heavy silence and an ounce of amazement.
Speaking one last time on Thursday before the court retired to deliberate, Ali Riza Polat reiterated his innocence of the charges against him. “I never woke up one morning to destroy the lives of these people.”
– “Decisive help” –
Presenting himself willingly as a thug who “loves money”, this close friend of Hyper Cacher killer Amedy Coulibaly has just admitted to having recovered a bag of “rotten” weapons in the summer of 2014, assuring that they were intended for “robbery”.
“If I had provided the weapons, I would have assumed,” he said.
For the prosecution, this “right arm” and “ideal accomplice” of Amedy Coulibaly, with whom he grew up in Grigny (Essonne), was “at the heart of the preparations for these monstrous killings”.
He “provided decisive assistance to the terrorists” who had acted in a concerted manner on January 7, 8 and 9, 2015, and “in full knowledge of the facts” of their projects, had asserted the general counsel Manon Brignol.
“The nature of these weapons can only sign an obvious desire for violent action,” said President Jean-Christophe Hullin, rendering the deliberation.
The court also sentenced to thirteen years in prison – two thirds of which are security – another close friend of Amedy Coulibaly, Amar Ramdani, also retried for having provided weapons to the future killer of the Hyper Cacher.
– “Nothing to see” –
The public prosecutor’s office had requested confirmation of the maximum sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment for criminal terrorist association pronounced at first instance.
The very scarred face, Amar Ramdani, 41, looked stunned by the decision.
He “is convicted of terrorism, which he has always refuted and which he continued to refute when the verdict was announced”, reacted one of his lawyers, Me Yves Leberquier, underlining the “extremely mixed feeling ” of his defense who had pleaded acquittal.
Ali Riza Polat’s lawyers declined to make a statement.
The defense called on the court on Wednesday to “rigor”, considering that the “hypotheses” presented by the prosecution on the recovery of weapons via two channels used by Amedy Coulibaly, one from Lille, the other Belgian, could not constitute “evidence” of guilt.
“The legal story is ending, but the story of the victims will continue. (…) After two trials, we understood who had done what”, estimated Riss, whose real name is Laurent Sourisseau, the director of the publication of Charlie Hebdo, and one of the survivors of the massacre in this newsroom.
With this decision, “we opposed justice to barbarism and hatred. Justice has passed,” said Marie-Laure Barré and Nathalie Senyk, counsel for victims of Charlie Hebdo.
During three days of terror, from January 7 to 9, 2015, the Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly carried out 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.
These attacks marked the beginning of a disastrous series of jihadist attacks, with that of November 13, 2015, the trial of which ended in June, and that of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice on July 14, 2016, currently judged in the same courthouse.