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Trial over Charlie Hebdo, kosher store attacks to resume after virus suspension

Judicial proceedings to restart two weeks after 3 defendants, suspected of being accomplices in attacks, tested positive for coronavirus

A policeman stands guard on January 21, 2015, in front the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket where jihadist gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed four Jewish men on January 9, 2015 in Paris. (AFP/Eric Feferberg)
A policeman stands guard on January 21, 2015, in front the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket where jihadist gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed four Jewish men on January 9, 2015 in Paris. (AFP/Eric Feferberg)

PARIS — The trial of suspected accomplices in the 2015 attacks in Paris against the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly and a Jewish supermarket are to resume next week after a suspension forced after three defendants tested positive for COVID-19, the court said Friday.

The trial will resume on Monday after the two-week suspension, the presiding judge Regis de Jorna said in a message to defense lawyers and those representing the plaintiffs seen by AFP.

“There are no longer any health or medical grounds against this,” he added.

The resumption of the hearings had been dependent on the state of health of the main suspect Ali Riza Polat, who still showed COVID-19 symptoms at the start of the week.

Members of the media walk in the courtroom housing the trial of suspected accomplices of the shooting on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris, August 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

All of the perpetrators were killed in the wake of the attacks and those on trial are accused of providing varying degrees of logistical support.

Polat, the only one of the accused to be tried for “complicity” in terrorist crimes, had tested positive for COVID-19 on October 31.

The initial suspension was then extended when two other accused tested positive for the virus. The other accused all tested negative.

The trial will pick up where it left off with lawyers representing the victims stating their case. Thirty lawyers now need to be heard by Wednesday morning — but the suspension has meant the timetable for the trial has been shifted back.

Anti-terror prosecutors will give their summing up on Wednesday and Thursday before defense lawyers are heard until November 25. The verdict — which initially had been awaited this week — is now expected to be handed down on November 27.

People hug each other outside the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, January 7, 2015 (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

Fourteen suspects — including three in absentia — have been standing trial since September over the January 2015 massacre of staff at Charlie Hebdo, the killing of a policewoman and the deadly hostage siege at the Hyper Cacher market which together left a total of 17 dead.

To mark the start of the trial, Charlie Hebdo defiantly republished the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed that had angered Muslims worldwide.

France is on its highest security alert after a spate of attacks in the last weeks blamed on Islamist radicals, including a stabbing outside its former offices, the beheading of a teacher and a killing spree inside a Nice church.

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