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Trial Halted as Charlie Hebdo Suspects Test Positive for COVID-19

The primary suspect and two other suspects in a trial over the 2015 Charlie Hebdo massacre have tested positive for coronavirus and the court has been suspended. 

Ali Riza Polat is accused of having helped the killers of 12 people in the 2015 attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, a female police officer a day later and four hostages at a Jewish supermarket. The gunmen were shot dead by police at the time but Ali Riza Polat was later caught when he attempted to flee to the Middle East. Police have viewed him as the main link to the gunmen and believe he had a key role in obtaining the weapons used.

Ali Riza Polat tested positive at the weekend and the trial was suspended until Wednesday. Then, on November 2, the trial was further delayed after the discovery that at least two other suspects had tested positive for COVID-19. Altogether, fourteen people are on trial for involvement in the attacks, three of whom are being tried in absentia. The court has said that two other suspects are being closely monitored as although they have so far tested negative for the virus, they are classed as contacts of the infected parties.

The trial opened on September 2. It had been delayed due to France’s original lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic. The verdict was originally expected on November 13 but this is likely to be pushed back by at least a week. France has returned to lockdown following a further increase in coronavirus cases, but the lockdown is not expected to affect the trial at this stage.

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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