A primary suspect in the trial over the 2015 massacres at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and elsewhere in Paris denied on Friday any responsibility for the attacks carried out by terrorists, one of whom was a close associate.
Ali Riza Polat, a 35-year-old Franco-Turkish man, was jailed a few weeks after the terror attack, with investigators saying he tried to flee the country several times heading for Syria, AFP reported.
“I am innocent!” Polat told the court, adding, “I’m here because certain people, lying squealers, said all sorts of nonsense… but they’re lying.”
Born in Istanbul, Polat moved to France when he was three and said he fell into petty crime when he was 13 or 14, later starting to deal drugs.
He grew up in the same rough Paris suburb of Grigny as Amedy Coulibaly, who killed a police officer on January 8, 2015 and four people at the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket the next day before being killed by police.
Those attacks came just after two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, stormed the Charlie Hebdo offices, killing 12.
Suspected of helping provide the weapons for all three terrorists, Polat is facing the most serious charge among the 14 accused: complicity in a terrorist act, which carries a potential life sentence.
Polat, who says he converted to Islam in 2014, insisted he had no role in the attacks.
“I have nothing to do with them. You cannot kill the innocent… I am not violent,” he said, according to AFP.
The trial of Polat and 13 other suspects accused of aiding the three terrorists opened Wednesday, and is set to run until November.
Since the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks, France has been hit by a number of attacks claimed by ISIS, the biggest one being the attack in November of 2015 in which 129 people were murdered.
The country has been under a heightened alert in recent years in the wake of the attacks.
Source: Arutz Sheva