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



A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for helping an Islamist attacker who killed five people at a French Christmas market in December 2018.

Audrey Mondjehi, 42, was convicted of obtaining a gun used by Cherif Chekatt, who shot and stabbed his victims in Strasbourg, north-eastern France.

The pair were former prison cell mates, the trial was told.

Two other men were handed shorter sentences for assisting Chekatt. A fourth man was acquitted.

Five people were killed when Chekatt opened fire on the crowd at the festive market. He was shot dead by police two days later.

On 29 February, Mondjehi and others accused of helping him in the days before the attack went on trial at the Court of Assize in Paris.

Arnaud Friedrich, a lawyer representing some of the victims’ families, told AFP news agency it was a “key moment” for his clients.

Mondjehi was not convicted of a terrorism offence as the court said he did not know what Chekatt planned to use the weapon for.

According to AFP, Mondjehi told his trial: “I think deeply and feel a lot of sadness for all the victims. All my life I will regret what happened.

“I would never have thought that he would have done that, I never thought that he was radicalised.”

  • Face to face with the Strasbourg gunman

At about 8pm on 11 December 2018, Chekatt – who had a string of criminal convictions and was on a watchlist of people who represent a potential threat to national security – entered the historic centre of Strasbourg armed with a revolver and a knife.

He opened fire, shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) as he did so, before killing five people at random and injuring a further 11.

He managed to escape the area by jumping into a taxi, before being found by police after a 48-hour manhunt.

Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack, and a video pledging allegiance to the group was found at Chekatt’s home. But the French interior minister at the time, Christophe Castaner, cast doubt on the claim, saying it was taking credit for an attack it hadn’t planned.

The five people who were killed were:

  • Antonio Megalizzi, a 29-year-old Italian journalist
  • Barto Pedro Orent-Niedzielski, a 36-year-old Strasbourg musician of Polish origin
  • Anupong Suebsamarn, 45, who was a Thai national on holiday with his wife
  • Kamal Naghchband, a garage mechanic who was originally from Afghanistan
  • Pascal Verdenne, a retired bank worker aged 61 from Strasbourg
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