Multiple suspects on trial over jihadist murder of French priest — Analysis

Four men have been accused of being complicit in Father Jacques Hamel’s 2016 assassination

The trial of four Parisian men alleged to have been involved in the jihadist assassination of Father Jacques Hamel (a Catholic priest who said Mass in a French Church in 2016) began Monday. The four men are accused of being complicit in the crime. 

The four men are being charged with conspiring to terrorists. Prosecutors claim they knew about the attack planned by the attackers through previous communication. Jean-Philippe Steven Jean Louis (25) Farid Khil (36), and Yassine Sbaihia (27) deny the allegations and describe themselves as “scapegoats.”Conviction can lead to up 30 years imprisonment.

Jean Louis, who is charged with spreading propaganda via social media and inciting jihadist attacks through them, was also accused by the two other suspects of having contact with the murderers and being aware of the attack. 

Rachid Kassim is the fourth suspect. He’s accused of being not only complicit in the death of the priest aged 85 years, but also of providing support and additional assistance to the attackers prior to the attack. Although he has been identified as having been killed by a drone strike in Iraq in 2017, prosecutors are attempting to hold him in contempt. 

Kassim received a previous life sentence in absentia after he ordered a 2016 terrorist attack on Paris. Two women tried to explode a car close to Notre Dame Cathedral. 

‘He tainted Islam’: Muslim community refuses to bury French priest killer

Adel Kermiche and Abdel-Malik Petitjean killed Father Hamel at a church in the small Normandy town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray on July 26, 2016. Two nuns and two other hostages were taken by the 19-year-old attackers during the attack. Two of the prime suspects were shot dead at the spot by police. 

Guy Coponet (a worshipper) was also injured and attended Monday’s trial. He is now 92 years old and will be testifying. “those responsible”For the attack “can ask forgiveness from all those who suffered,”France 24,

Hamel’s killers claimed to be members of the Islamic State, which later took credit for the attack, and Kassim is accused of recruiting the two. 

The priest’s murder occurred during a flurry of terrorist attacks in France, with more than 200 being killed in Islamist-inspired attacks between 2015 and 2017. 



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