French trial opens for man linked to brutal 2016 killings of police couple

Mohamed Lamine Aberouz accused of helping extremist who stabbed young child's parents to death at their home near Paris

The two police officers were killed in their home in 2016, in front of their three-year-old son. AP
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The suspected accomplice of the man who killed a couple, both members of the French police force, in front of their child at their home in Paris in 2016 has gone on trial at a French court.

Mohamed Lamine Aberouz, 30, is accused of complicity in killing a public official, terrorist conspiracy and complicity in illegal detention, with the maximum penalty life in prison.

Wearing a white T-shirt, with long hair tied back and a beard without moustache, he confirmed his name to the packed courtroom before the plaintiffs' statements.

Jean-Baptiste Salvaing, 42, and his partner Jessica Schneider, 36, a police administrative worker, were stabbed to death at their home in Magnanville, north-west of Paris.

The accused has maintained his innocence since he was charged in 2017.

He says he was at prayers the night of the attack.

The killer, 25-year-old Larossi Abballa, was shot dead when a specialist response unit stormed the house to free the couple's three-year-old child, who was being held hostage and had witnessed the killings.

Abballa was a follower of ISIS.

Prosecutors argue that Mr Aberouz was the one who singled out Mr Salvaing and Ms Schneider to Abballa as targets for the attack, visiting the house with the killer to identify them to him in photos stored on their computer.

His DNA was found on the wrist rest of their computer, which was also used to announce the couple had been killed.

No other trace of his presence at the scene of the crime has been found, his legal team have pointed out.

Mr Aberouz's lawyers say Abballa was a "lone wolf" under police surveillance and with a past conviction for conspiracy to prepare terrorist acts.

But investigators argue Mr Aberouz and Abballa "were both motivated by the same ideology".

They say Mr Aberouz had been in contact, through Abballa, with a young woman, Sarah Hervouet, who has since been sentenced to 20 years in jail for stabbing a plainclothes police officer in 2016.

Mr Aberouz has already been sentenced to five years for failing to report a terrorist crime, Hervouet's attempted car bomb attack near Notre-Dame cathedral in central Paris.

France was hit by a spate of terrorist attacks, including the November 2015 suicide and gun attacks on Paris that left 130 dead, carried out by radical extremists inspired by ISIS.

Updated: September 25, 2023, 2:22 PM