French authorities have charged and detained four Pakistanis suspected of links to a meat cleaver attack by a compatriot outside the former offices of the Charlie Hebdo weekly.
According to AFP, the four male suspects were in contact with the attacker. They are suspected of being aware of the attacker’s plot and inciting him to carry it out.
Three of them were charged on Friday with taking part in a terrorist conspiracy and placed in pre-trial detention. The fourth had already been charged on Wednesday.
News of the charges comes two days after a Paris court convicted 13 accomplices of the jihadist gunmen who massacred Charlie Hebdo staff in January 2015.
The magazine had, in early September, reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed — maybe to mark the start of that trial.
Three weeks later, a Pakistani man wounded two people outside the weekly’s former offices, hacking at them with a cleaver.
The assailant, named as Zaheer Hassan Mahmoud was arrested after September’s attack on terror charges and remains in custody. He told investigators that prior to the attack he had watched “videos from Pakistan” concerning the satirical magazine’s decision to republish the cartoons.
On October 16, a young Chechen refugee beheaded teacher Samuel Paty, who had shown some of the caricatures to his pupils.
Less than two weeks later, three people were killed when a young Tunisian recently arrived in Europe went on a stabbing spree at a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice