France delays Charlie Hebdo trial after two more defendants test positive for Covid-19

France delays Charlie Hebdo trial after two more defendants test positive for Covid-19
A memorial to the murdered journalists. Photo: AFP
The trial over the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack has been delayed for at least a week after two more defendants tested positive for coronavirus, the presiding lawyer said.

Fourteen people are on trial accused of having helped the killers of 12 victims in the attack on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, a female police officer a day later, and four hostages at a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

After primary suspect Ali Riza Polat received a Covid-19 diagnosis over the weekend, the presiding judge ordered all those on trial to be tested.

“In view of the health protocols in force requiring isolation of both positive and contact cases, the hearing will not be able to resume this week,” Regis de Jorna said in an email sent on Sunday to lawyers involved in the case.

The trial had already been suspended until Wednesday following Polat's positive diagnosis, with Jorna telling lawyers the court would not sit again until all the results were in.

Two further defendants then tested positive, with two others remaining under supervision despite negative results as they were believed to be “contact cases”, according to Jorna's email.

The results from the other defendants, detained in Fleury-Merogis, are due on Monday.

The extended suspension of the hearing will further delay the conclusion of the trial, which opened on September 2nd.

Defence lawyers were scheduled to plead on November 6th, 9th, 10th and 11th with the verdict expected on 13th.

France returned to lockdown last week in the latest measure to curb a disease that has infected more than 44.5 million people worldwide and killed nearly 1.2 million.

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