Hyper Cacher shooting suspects face charges as France completes criminal investigation

Four Jewish hostages died after being taken hostage by Amedy Coulibaly on January 9, 2015


French officials have concluded a criminal investigation into the 2015 Hyper Cacher and Charlie Hebdo shootings, paving the way for the possible trial of 15 people suspected of assisting the attackers.

A total of 17 people, including several Jewish shoppers, were killed after a terrorist cell struck venues across Paris between January 7 and 9.

The prosecution now has a month to complete its petition for a trial of the cell’s alleged French accomplices.

“It’s a monumental investigation of some 90,000 pages going in various directions and more than 100 lawyers pleading,” Axel Metzker, one of the victims’ lawyers, told the JC. “But it’s frustrating not to have the main perpetrators.”

The 2015 attacks began with Cherif and Said Kouachi’s raid on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people. The next day their accomplice Amedy Coulibaly shot dead a policewoman in Montrouge before storming a kosher supermarket, taking shoppers hostage and killing four men aged 20 to 64.

The attacks were the first in a wave of terror that killed 246 people in France that year. The gunmen were also killed.

French media said any trial of alleged accomplices is expected to be held in 2020 and last about three months.

But most of those facing charges are not accused of playing a major role in the attacks — with the exception of Ali Riza Polat, who is suspected of organising Coulibaly’s weapons arsenal. Those who ordered the assaults are considered likely to be in hiding in Iraq or Syria.

“It feels like the same story every time in these cases. Take the example of Jawad Bendaoud,” Mr Metzker said, referring to the 32-year-old suspected of hiding the mastermind of the deadly November 2015 Paris attacks in his flat.

“He was acquitted. Meanwhile the people who we know indoctrinated all those people who became terrorists walk freely — and are even invited to talk shows.”

He added: “Victims families and lawyers feel abandoned. There is so much work to do we can’t accomplish this alone.

“Authorities are not doing all they can and should do. It seems we haven’t learned the lessons of those attack yet.”

The trial of the January 2015 suspects is expected to take place before those alleged of involvement in the November attacks, which included the shooting at the Bataclan concert hall.

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