French court convicts all eight suspects over 2016 truck attack in Nice
A French court on Tuesday ordered prison sentences for eight suspects accused of the horrific 2016 terror attacks in Nice, where a suspected Muslim attacker rammed his truck into crowds of people. winter is celebrating the national day of july 14.
The two men were given the heaviest sentences of 18 years in prison for helping Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian resident, prepare a case. attack kills 86 people and wounded more than 450 people in a four-minute rampage on a seaside embankment south of the city before being shot dead by police.
The judges determined that Mohamed Ghraieb and Chokri Chafroud must have known about the attacker’s turn to radical Islam and his potential to carry out an attack. terrorism attack, based on records of phone calls and text messages between the three in the days leading up to the massacre.
Ghraieb, 47, who lives in the same Tunisian town as Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, and Chafroud, 43, a Tunisian, are also accused of helping to hire delivery vans.
They deny the allegations.
Ramzi Arefa, 28, – who admitted to providing Lahouaiej-Bouhlel with the gun he fired at police without hitting anyone – was sentenced to 12 years, although he was not charged with criminal association a terrorist or aware of Lahouaiej- Bouhlel’s ability to launch an attack.
The Islamic State The group later claimed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel as one of its followers, although investigators did not find any specific link between the attacker and the jihadists who were controlling the attack. control the territories of Iraq and Syria.
Five other suspects, one Tunisian and four Albanians, were sentenced to between two and eight years in prison on charges of arms trafficking or criminal conspiracy, but without any connection to terrorism.
Brahim Tritrou is the only suspect to be tried in absentia after fleeing judicial supervision to Tunisia, where he is now believed to be under arrest.
About 30,000 people gathered on the coast of Nice to watch the fireworks celebrating the annual French Bastille holiday on July 14 when Lahouaiej-Bouhlel began to rampage.
According to French and Tunisian media reports, his body was brought back to Tunisia in 2017 and buried in his hometown of M’saken, south of Tunis. This has never been confirmed by the Tunisian authorities.
France has suffered a wave of terrorist attacks by Islamists since the January 2015 murders of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris, often by attackers. lone wolf” acting in the name of IS or other jihadist groups.
In October, an appeals court in Paris upheld the life sentence of Ali Riza Polat, accused of helping to find weapons for Charlie Hebdo attackers.
The Nice trial took place at the historic Palais de Justice in Paris, in the same purpose-built courtroom that held hearings about the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead. .
A special location was also set up in Nice to allow victims to watch the proceedings via live television.
For many victims, the sentences that prosecutors seek do not match the level of distress.
During the trial, many survivors gasped in horror as prosecutors showed the grisly video, never before made public, of the vehicle as Lahouaiej-Bouhlel made his way through the crowd, trying to bring down as many people as possible. the better.
“I hope the courts will be more strict than they are asking – I cannot understand them after all that has been said in the hearings,” said Anne Murris, president of the Memorial des Anges victims’ association, who lost her daughter in the attack, said. .