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Accomplice in Charlie Hebdo, kosher market attacks sentenced to life on appeal

Man accused of helping find weapons for jihadist gunmen in 2015 Paris assaults was originally handed a 30-year sentence in December 2020

Republican guards stand outside the Hyper Cacher supermarket ahead of a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the deadly attack against the store in Paris on January 5, 2017. (Christophe Archambault/AFP)
Republican guards stand outside the Hyper Cacher supermarket ahead of a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the deadly attack against the store in Paris on January 5, 2017. (Christophe Archambault/AFP)

PARIS — A man accused of helping find weapons for the jihadist gunmen who attacked the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket in France eight years ago was given a life sentence after his appeal trial, a judicial source said Thursday.

Ali Riza Polat, 37, who contests the charges of complicity in a terrorist attack, was originally handed a 30-year sentence in December 2020.

A second suspect who appealed his 20-year sentence for conspiring with the attackers, Amar Ramdani, 41, was again found guilty but saw his sentence reduced to 13 years.

Twelve people were massacred at Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices on January 7, 2015, by the brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi, who said they were acting on behalf of Al-Qaeda to avenge the paper’s decision to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

A day later, Amedy Coulibaly killed a 27-year-old police officer during a traffic check outside Paris, before killing four Jewish men during a hostage-taking at the Hyper Cacher supermarket on January 9, claiming to act in the name of the Islamic State terror group.

All three were killed by police, and in December 2020 a French court convicted 14 people of helping to carry out the attacks. Polat and Ramdani were the only ones to appeal their convictions.

A courtroom sketch made on December 14, 2020 shows Ali Riza Polat (center), believed to have been the right-hand man of Amedy Coulibaly, speaking in front of other defendants at Paris’ courthouse during the trial of 14 people suspected of being accomplices in the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher jihadist killings. (Benoit Peyrucq/ AFP)

Polat’s new sentence carries a minimum jail time of 20 years before he can be eligible for parole.

The Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher killings marked the start of a deadly wave of Islamist attacks around Europe, in particular the harrowing killing spree a few months later at the Bataclan concert hall and at Paris bars and cafes in November 2015.

This combination of file photos made on January 8, 2015 shows (from L top to bottom R) French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s deputy chief editor Bernard Maris and cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut, aka Cabu, Charb, Tignous and Honore (Philippe Honore), who were killed during the attack on the Paris offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015. (Guillaume Baptiste and Francois Guillot/AFP)

Those shot dead in the Charlie Hebdo office included some of France’s most celebrated cartoonists including Jean Cabut, known as Cabu, 76, Georges Wolinski, 80, and Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, 47.

The massacre triggered a global outpouring of solidarity with France under the “I am Charlie” slogan.

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