Charlie Hebdo: long jail terms for the defendants

Fourteen defendants have been sentenced in the trial over the 2015 attacks on the editorial offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris. The main defendant has been given a 30-year jail sentence. He is deemed to have been the right-hand man of one of the three attackers shot dead by security forces. Almost six years on, can France put the attacks behind it?

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Libération (FR) /

Food for thought

For Libération's editor-in-chief Alfon Dov, the verdict gives French society the chance to reflect on its identity:

“One is tempted to see this verdict as the end of a painful process, a moment of mourning. And this is undoubtedly true for the parents, children and companions of those who were killed. ... But for French society no mourning is possible and no door has been shut. On the contrary, the door remains open to the wounds the post-Charlie era has re-opened, the divisions that don't heal by themselves and the agonising question: who are we after Charlie? The verdict does not seek to give an answer, but in its definitiveness it at least provides the necessary moment of reflection.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

No catharsis

A more thorough investigation into the background to the attack is needed, The Irish Times complains:

“While the trial may have brought some closure to the families of the victims, it had no such cathartic effect for the country at large. On a practical level, the proceedings left important questions unanswered. The defendants were primarily those who helped Coulibaly, whereas the network behind the Kouachi brothers remains unclear to this day. We don't know how they got their weapons, nor who from Islamic State or al-Qaeda - both of which claimed responsibility for the attacks - may have ordered the crimes.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

France remains vulnerable

There can be no talk of France having put the attacks behind it, says Hospodářské noviny:

“Although the main defendant and the companion of one of the attackers who was killed received severe sentences, they refused to accept responsibility. But looking back we see an even more serious aspect: the shock of the attack, which embodies intolerant political Islamism, did indeed trigger cohesion, such as the Paris march of politicians under President François Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel. But today's France remains wounded and vulnerable.”

Aargauer Zeitung (CH) /

Masterminds can still rejoice

New divisions are emerging in French society as the trial ends, writes Paris correspondent Stefan Brändle in the Aargauer Zeitung:

“And they do not just run between the right and the left. Feminists like Élisabeth Badinter are fighting on the same side as right-wing populist Marine Le Pen when it comes to secularism and caricatures. Ultimately, all the differences of opinion can be traced back to the loaded word Islam. And rather than being assauged since September, they've been rekindled. This is all the more serious given that all those mentioned above share the same interests and have the same enemy - terror. Its accomplices have been sentenced. But its masterminds can celebrate the fact that they have further divided their opponents in the civilised world.”