Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Aiding Attacker in French Christmas Market Tragedy

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for aiding an Islamist attacker responsible for the deaths of five individuals at a French Christmas market in December 2018.

Audrey Mondjehi, aged 42, was found guilty of procuring a firearm used by Cherif Chekatt, who carried out the shooting and stabbing rampage in Strasbourg, located in north-eastern France. The court learned that Mondjehi and Chekatt had been former prison cellmates.

Two additional individuals received shorter prison terms for their roles in assisting Chekatt, while a fourth individual was acquitted of involvement in the attack.

During the assault on the festive market, five innocent individuals lost their lives at the hands of Chekatt, who subsequently met his demise in a police shootout two days later.

The trial commenced on 29 February at the Court of Assize in Paris, where Mondjehi and his alleged accomplices faced justice. Arnaud Friedrich, representing some of the victims’ families, emphasized the significance of this legal proceeding for his clients, describing it as a pivotal moment.

Mondjehi was not convicted of a terrorism offense as the court ruled that he was unaware of Chekatt’s intentions for the firearm.

During his trial, Mondjehi expressed remorse, stating: “I deeply reflect on and feel immense sadness for all the victims. I will regret what happened for the rest of my life. I never imagined that he would commit such acts, nor did I perceive any signs of radicalization.”

On the evening of December 11, 2018, Chekatt, who had prior criminal convictions and was under surveillance as a potential national security threat, entered the historic center of Strasbourg armed with a revolver and a knife.

France: Audrey Mondjehi jailed for obtaining Strasbourg attacker's gun

He began shooting indiscriminately, uttering “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) as he carried out the attack, resulting in the deaths of five individuals and injuring another 11.

After the attack, Chekatt fled the scene by boarding a taxi. Following a 48-hour manhunt, he was eventually located and confronted by police.

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack, and a video pledging allegiance to the group was discovered at Chekatt’s residence. However, the French interior minister at the time, Christophe Castaner, expressed skepticism about the claim, suggesting that IS was taking credit for an attack it had not orchestrated.

The victims of the attack were:

1. Antonio Megalizzi, a 29-year-old Italian journalist
2. Barto Pedro Orent-Niedzielski, a 36-year-old musician from Strasbourg of Polish descent
3. Anupong Suebsamarn, a 45-year-old Thai national who was on vacation with his wife
4. Kamal Naghchband, a garage mechanic originally from Afghanistan
5. Pascal Verdenne, a 61-year-old retired bank worker from Strasbourg


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