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Conspirators convicted in killing of French priest Jacques Hamel

Father Jacques Hamel

AM113 | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 03/11/22

Three defendants receive prison sentences of eight to 13 years.

Three men were found guilty on Wednesday of terrorist conspiracy in connection to the assassination of Fr. Jacqes Hamel. Fr. Hamel, 85, had his throat cut in front of parishioners at his church in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, in the north of France, the morning of July 26, 2016.

The three defendants – 27-year-old Yassine Sebaihia, 36-year-old Farid Khelil and 25-year-old Jean-Philippe Steven Jean-Louis – received prison sentences of between eight and 13 years for “forming a criminal terrorist organization.”

After a three-week trial, the Paris Assize Court determined that the defendants approved of jihadist ideology at time of the crime and that they had contacts with the perpetrators of the assassination, Adel Kermiche and Abdel-Malik Petitjean, both then 19 years old.

A fourth man, Rachid Kassim, who recruited supporters for the Islamic State and was allegedly killed in Iraq in 2017, was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment and an additional 22 years of preventive detention.

All three who were convicted and sentenced this week will be under judicial supervision for five years after they serve their sentences, which would include, in particular, a commitment to professional activity or training and a therapy requirement, according to Die Tagespost.

“Justice is done,” Archbishop Dominique Lebrun of Rouen said after the verdict. The court, he said, “has discerned the good from the bad as much as possible, it has judged and for the good of society, for the good of the men present in the dock.”

The two 19-year-old men who stabbed Hamel and injured a second man were killed by police as they left the church.

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