Fourteen alleged associates of two jihadist terrorists went on trial Wednesday in Paris for allegedly helping them carry out deadly attacks in 2015, including one on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The attack on the magazine’s offices was the first in a series of incidents over three days in January 2015, marking the beginning of a surge in violence by Islamic State in Europe. Seventeen people were killed.
Brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi went on a rampage in the magazine’s offices on January 7, shooting 12 people to death in the name of al-Qaida before fleeing. The magazine had published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad years before.
Two days later, on the eve of the Jewish Sabbath, Amedy Coulibaly, a Malian-French man, attacked the Hyper Cacher supermarket, killing four hostages in the name of Islamic State as the Kouachi brothers seized control of a printing office outside Paris. The attackers were killed that day during police raids.
Coulibaly was later found to be responsible for the random death of a policewoman the previous day.
A separate network of French and Belgian fighters for Islamic State attacked Paris later in 2015, killing 130 people at the Bataclan concert hall, the national stadium, and in bars and restaurants.
The suspects on trial are accused of helping with the logistics of the January attacks, including buying weapons and cars. Most of the suspects said they believed they were helping to plan an ordinary crime.
As the trial opened under tight security, nearby newsstands sold the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo, which includes reprints of the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad cited by the gunmen who murdered members of the magazine’s editorial staff.