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France: Strasbourg attack suspect jailed for 30 years

April 4, 2024

An accomplice of the 2018 Strasbourg Christmas market attack was sentenced for supplying the main perpetrator with weapons. The attack had left five people dead and 11 wounded in the French city.

A police officer keeps watch at the entrance of the Paris court where the trial for the Strasbourg accomplices is being held
France continues to seek justice after dozens of jihadi attacks occurred in the European country between 2015 and 2018Image: Thibault Camus/dpa/AP Photo/picture alliance

One of the accomplices in the deadly Christmas market attack in Strasbourg was handed 30 years in prison, a French court ruled Thursday. 

The 42-year-old accomplice from the Ivory Coast, Audrey M., went on trial in February along with three others over their roles assisting in the attack. He was the main defendant in the trial, and is accused of helping the perpetrator of the attack obtain a firearm.  

The 29-year-old attacker, Cherif Chekatt, was shot dead by police after a massive manhunt. He killed five people and wounded 11 others when he opened fire on the open-air market in December 2018.  

What did the court rule? 

The head judge said Audrey M. knew of Chekatt's radicalization, but he was not convicted on the other charges against him of "terrorist murders."

The "Islamic State" had claimed responsibility for the violence, with Chekatt pledging allegiance to the group in video footage procured by French authorities. 

Audrey M. has denied that he knew of Chekatt's plans and told the court ahead of the verdict that he feels sadness for the victims. 

Two of the other accomplices on trial, Christian H. and Frederic B., were given sentences of four and five years, but they will not serve time behind bars due to their lengthy pre-trial detention.  

A fourth suspect was acquitted on Thursday.

The accomplices handed jail time willl be able to appeal their prison sentences.  

Passersby remember the victims of the Strasbourg attack in 2018, with candles lit to remember the victims
The terror attack left Strasbourg in mourning, but the city's residents continue to hold their annual Christmas market in the years since the 2018 violence Image: Winfried Rothermel/picture alliance

Who were the victims?  

The Christmas market in Strasbourg is one of Europe's oldest, and the city is also home to the European Parliament.

One of the victims was a Thai national who was on vacation in the city, whereas another was an Italian journalist who frequently traveled to the European Parliament to interview EU lawmakers.     

Another victim had fled violence in Afghanistan before settling down in Strasbourg. His wife said she "felt a lot of emotion" following Thursday's ruling, according to the France 3 broadcaster, and that she "waited a lot for this day."   

France faced a spate of jihadi terror attacks in cities such as Paris and Nice between 2015 to 2018, with several of the incidents claimed by IS. 

wd, rm/dj (AFP, dpa)