A primary suspect in the 2015 massacres trial of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and elsewhere in Paris has today denied any responsibility for the attacks by jihadists, one of whom was a close associate.
Ali Riza Pollat, a 35-year-old man from Franco-Turkey, was jailed a few weeks after the terrorist attack by France, with investigators saying he tried to flee the country several times to Syria.
To defend himself, Pollat chose Isabel Countant-Pierre, a lawyer who defended the convicted international terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sánchez, better known as ‘Carlos the Jackal’.
She later became his partner and married him in a religious ceremony in prison, although the union has no legal validity.
This court sketch at the Paris Courthouse today shows fourteen convicts and their lawyers during the trial of criminals in the 2015 Charlie Hebdo Jihadi killings
To defend himself, Pollat has chosen Isabel Countant-Pere (pictured), a lawyer who defended convicted international terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sánchez
‘I’m innocent!’ Pollat told the court, his head was shaved and his face was hidden behind a cloth mask.
“I am here because some people are lying, doing all kinds of nonsense … but they are lying,” he said.
Born in Istanbul, Pollat moved to France at the age of three and said he started dealing drugs when he was 13 or 14 years old.
He grew up in the same rough Paris suburb of Greng as Amédée Culibli, who killed a police officer on January 8, 2015, and killed four people in a Hyper Kachar Jewish supermarket the next day after being killed by police.
After those attacks, two brothers, Said and Cheriff Koachi, came to the Charlie Hebdo offices, killing 12.
Isabel Countant-Pierre, for one of the defendants Ali Riza Pollat, leaves the court room on Wednesday during the pause of the opening day of the trial. His client, a 35-year-old Franco-Turkish man, was jailed a few weeks after the terrorist attack that threatened France
Suspected of helping provide weapons for all three gunmen, Pollat is facing the most serious of 14 charges: complicity in a terrorist act that carries a possible life sentence.
But Polat, who says he converted to Islam in 2014, insisted that he had no role in the attacks.
‘I have nothing to do with them. You cannot kill innocents… I am not violent, ‘he said.
Pollat and thirteen other suspects are accused of supporting the three gunmen opened on Wednesday in the trial, and are set to run until November.
Charlie Hebdo marked the occasion by reiterating the exploits of Prophet Mohammed, which angered Muslims around the world, a move that garnered praise from free-speech advocates, but the anger of many Muslim leaders.
Supporters of the radical Islamist party Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan raised placards and slogans in Rawalpindi on Friday during a protest against the cartoon of Prophet Mohammad by French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
On Friday, the paper said that its Wednesday edition sold out on day one, prompting it to print 200,000 more copies, which would hit newsstands in the coming days.
Lawyer Countant-Pierre had previously represented Zacharias Moussoui, a French citizen who pleaded guilty to conspiring to kill American citizens under the September 11 attacks.
He represented Mousoui during his imprisonment. He is currently serving six life imprisonment sentences without parole at the federal ADX Supermax Prison in Florence, Colorado.
Also among his clients is French serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who was associated with Western tourists in Southeast Asia in the 1970s and French philosopher and resistance fighter Roger Garaudy, who was convicted of Holocaust denials in 1998 and The fine was imposed.
Carlos the jackal
Venezuelan extremist Carlos Jacal was responsible for a series of atrocities across France in the 1970s and 80s
Probably the most notorious international terrorist of his generation, Venezuelan extremist Carlos Jacal was responsible for a series of atrocities across France in the 1970s and 80s, slaughtering victims including police officers.
Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, was the world’s most wanted fugitive during this period and has been jailed in France since the 1994 arrest by the French elite police in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.
Carlos was convicted in 1997 of the murder of two French police officers and an informer in Paris in 1975 and in 2011 in masterminding attacks on two trains, a train station and a Paris street killing 11 people and about 150 people were injured.
He sealed his notoriety in 1975 with the hostage of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna in the name of the Palestinian conflict, and went on hire for an international gun with Soviet block guards.
In the 1970s and 80s, Marxist militants and self-dubbed ‘elite gunmen’ became the epitome of anti-Cold War imperialism and public enemy number one for Western governments.
Carlos was finally arrested in 1994 by the French intelligence services in Sudan, 20 years after his first mission to French soil.