France’s Charlie Hebdo trial suspended after suspected tests positive for Covid-19


The primary suspect in a lawsuit over the 2015 massacre in Charlie Hebdo has tested positive for coronavirus, and the trial is suspended until Wednesday, lawyers said.

Ali Riza Polat is accused of aiding the killers of 12 people in the 2015 attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, a female police officer a day later and four hostages in a Jewish supermarket.

He faces the most serious charge for the suspected accomplices in the trial – complicity in terrorist crimes – and could face life in prison if convicted.

The 35-year-old vomited and was seen by a doctor, prompting the judge to suspend the trial until next week.

The 10 accused accomplices must now be tested, and “the resumption of the trial will depend on the results of these tests and the development of the health of the people affected,” President Regis de Jorna said in an email to lawyers on Saturday.

He urged everyone in the court to observe social distance and insisted that all participants should wear a mask.

The suspension of the hearing will delay the conclusion of the trial, which began on 2 September.

Defense attorneys were scheduled to file on Nov. 6, 9, 10 and 11 with the expected verdict on Nov. 13.

Fourteen people are on trial in the Special Terrorism Court over their support for the jihadist trio that attacked in January 2015. All the attackers were shot by police.

Described as “right arm” by striker Amedy Coulibaly, Polat was born in Istanbul but moved to France when he was three, and like Coulibaly grew up in the city of Grande Borne in Grigny, in the suburbs of Paris.

France returned to lockdown on Friday after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, in the latest measure to curb a disease that has infected more than 44.5 million people worldwide and killed nearly 1.2 million.