8 in France convicted of roles in Bastille Day truck attack

Dec 12, 2022, 12:37 PM | Updated: Dec 13, 2022, 9:59 am
FILE - Authorities investigate a truck after it plowed through Bastille Day revelers in the French ...

FILE - Authorities investigate a truck after it plowed through Bastille Day revelers in the French resort city of Nice, France, killing 86 people on July 14, 2016. A French court on Tuesday Dec.13, 2022 convicted eight people charged in connection with a truck attack more than six years ago by an Islamic State sympathizer that killed 86 people celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice. (Sasha Goldsmith via AP, File)

(Sasha Goldsmith via AP, File)

PARIS (AP) — A French court on Tuesday convicted eight people charged in connection with a truck attack more than six years ago by an Islamic State sympathizer that killed 86 people celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice.

The judge’s verdict followed 3 1/2 months of sometimes heart-wrenching testimony from survivors of the 2016 attack, who during the trial described the horrors and carnage they witnessed that Thursday summer night and the impact on their lives since.

The driver of the truck that plowed into crowds watching fireworks, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, was killed by police the night of the attack.

The eight defendants, seven men and one woman, were convicted of helping him orchestrate a terrorist attack. The judge gave them prison sentences ranging from two to 18 years. Prosecutors had acknowledged not all of them had a clear connection to terrorism or knew what Lahouaiej-Bouhlel planned.

The pair most closely associated with Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, Mohamed Ghraeib and Chokri Chafroud, were convicted of terror charges and handed the longest sentences of 18 years.

The prosecution said both had had “an intense relationship” with Lahouaiej-Bouhlel. Ghraieb had known the attacker for 15 years, attended the same gym and haf 1,278 telephone communications with him in one year.

Ghraieb’s lawyer, Vincent Brengarth, said his client would appeal.

Attack survivors reacted positively to the judge’s verdict.

“I am satisfied to see that the two main defendants have been sentenced to 18 years in prison, even if it is nothing compared to what we have experienced,” said survivor Laurence Bray. “This verdict is a relief. Now, there will be a big void.”

“It won’t bring my family back, my mom, my son, but it’s a small victory that feels good,” Caroline Villani, another survivor, said.

Others defendants who were convicted on Tuesday were said to know the perpetrator’s plans more vaguely, such as Ramzi Arefa. He was convicted of selling the attacker a weapon while allegedly not knowing his terrorist intentions. Arefa received a 12-year prison sentence.

The trial was painful for survivors and victims’ families. Some were able to come to Paris for the proceedings, but many watched on a secured online site or at a special viewing center set up near the Nice beachfront.

Among the victims, 33 were foreign citizens and 15 were children. More than 2,400 people are civil parties to the trial.

On July 14, 2016, thousands of people had packed Nice’s famed boardwalk on the Mediterranean coast to celebrate France’s national holiday. In 4 minutes and 17 seconds, Lahouaiej-Bouhlel rammed his 19-ton truck at full speed into a crowd of families, tourists and others on the picturesque Promenade des Anglais, killing 86 and leaving 450 others injured.

While investigators found Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had vocalized support for the Islamic State group, they found no clear proof of his links to IS operatives. The group was active in Syria and Iraq at the time.

The truck massacre followed deadly attacks in Paris at the Bataclan theater and other sites in France and Belgium orchestrated by the extremist group.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Belgian police seize $1.6 million in sex trafficking probe

BRUSSELS (AP) — About 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) in cash were seized during raids in Belgium targeting an alleged criminal organization suspected of sending Chinese women to Europe and forcing them into prostitution, the federal prosecutor’s office said Wednesday. In addition, investigators took hold of four tons of coins with an unspecified value, prosecutors […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Blaze at US drone plant in Latvia; arson not suspected

HELSINKI (AP) — Firefighters worked for a second day Wednesday to fully extinguish a blaze at a U.S. company’s drone plant in Latvia. Local police said nothing had been found so far to indicate sabotage. Latvia’s State Fire and Rescue Service was alerted Tuesday afternoon that a fire had broken out at Edge Autonomy’s drone […]
1 day ago
FILE - People walk past a Microsoft office in New York on Nov. 10, 2016.  (AP Photo/Swayne B. Hall,...
Associated Press

UK watchdog says Microsoft’s Activision deal hurts gamers

LONDON (AP) — Microsoft’s stalled $68.7 billion deal to buy video game company Activision Blizzard has hit a fresh hurdle in the United Kingdom, where the antitrust watchdog said Wednesday that it will stifle competition and hurt gamers. Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority said its in-depth investigation found that the deal could strengthen Microsoft’s position […]
1 day ago
People walk past St. John's Baptistery, one of the oldest churches in Florence, central Italy, Tues...
Associated Press

Visitors can see Florence Baptistry mosaics up close

FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Visitors to one of Florence’s most iconic monuments — the Baptistry of San Giovanni, opposite the city’s Duomo — are getting a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see its ceiling mosaics up close thanks to an innovative approach to a planned restoration effort. Rather than limit the public’s access during the six-year cleaning […]
1 day ago
Volunteers distribute aid to people in Antakya, southern Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023. Thinly st...
Associated Press

Live Updates | Turkey, Syria quake is deadliest in decade

The catastrophic earthquake that razed thousands of buildings in Turkey and Syria became one of the deadliest quakes worldwide in more than a decade Wednesday and the death toll kept rising, surpassing 11,000. Rescue crews braved freezing overnight temperatures in quake-hit areas in both countries in hopes of reaching more survivors and to pull more […]
1 day ago
FILE - The Container ship Cam Cgm Arctic (MT) is moored at Maersk APM Terminals Pacific, Pier 400, ...
Associated Press

Shipper Maersk reports most profitable year, warns of drop

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The world’s biggest shipper, Denmark’s A.P. Moeller-Maersk, said Wednesday that 2022 was its most profitable year in “the history of the company” but warned that a plunge in container volumes and freight rates would lead to a drop in earnings this year. Full-year revenue increased by 32%, to $81.5 billion from […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
8 in France convicted of roles in Bastille Day truck attack