The peacekeeper Xavier Jugelé, murdered by two Kalashnikov bullets while driving a police van on the avenue des Champs-Elysées, on April 20, 2017, was indeed the victim of a terrorist attack, insisted, Thursday June 17, President Laurent Raviot giving notice of his judgment. However, none of the four defendants returned for this attack to the specially composed assize court of Paris was guilty of a terrorist offense, estimated the five professional magistrates of this specialized court.
The perpetrator of the attack, Karim Cheurfi, having died, four men had been appearing since June 7 for having contributed, at different levels of responsibility, to providing him with his assault rifle. Three of them were tried for common law offenses relating to the acquisition, possession or transfer of the weapon: one was acquitted, two others sentenced to five and six years in prison. Only one, Nourredine Allam, accused of having sold the Kalashnikov to Karim Cheurfi, was on trial for criminal conspiracy. The National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office (PNAT) had required eighteen years of imprisonment against him.
At the end of nine days of hearing and more than eight hours of deliberation, the court finally rejected this qualification, considering that the “Mere fact of selling a weapon to a dangerous individual capable of killing police officers is not sufficient to characterize a terrorist offense”, which would assume that the accused was aware of the buyer’s radicalization. Nourredine Allam was sentenced to the maximum penalty provided for the association of common criminals: ten years in prison.
According to a judicial source, this judgment ruling out any conviction for terrorism is probably a first in an attack trial related to the jihadist theme. However exceptional it may be, this decision had been anticipated by several representatives of the civil parties, aware of the “Legal difficulty” that this qualification posed in this case.
The “links in the chain”
On April 20, 2017, Karim Cheurfi, a very psychologically unstable 39-year-old delinquent, already sentenced twelve years earlier to fifteen years in prison for attempted murders of police officers, strafed a police van parked on the famous Parisian avenue.
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