France awaits verdict in shootings at newspaper, TV network - InfoNews

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France awaits verdict in shootings at newspaper, TV network

November 24, 2017 - 5:16 AM

PARIS - A Paris court is set to rule Friday on whether to convict a 52-year-old man of attempted murder over shooting incidents at a newspaper and TV network four years ago.

Abdelhakim Dekhar is accused of gravely wounding an assistant photographer with a pump-action shotgun at the prominent left-wing daily Liberation, an attempted shooting at broadcaster BFM-TV and firing shots outside the headquarters of French bank Societe Generale.

He also is accused of a brief hostage-taking and car-hijacking during the rampage over several days in 2013, which prompted concern about attacks on the media.

Dekhar was found semi-conscious in a parking garage and arrested after a protracted manhunt, which gained nationwide attention as it played out on TV screens and social networks. Security was tightened at media offices after his shootings.

The prosecutor asked the court Friday to sentence Dekhar to 25 years in prison, according to French media reports, though the multiple attempted murder charges he faces could lead to life in prison.

During the trial he described anti-capitalist views, desperation and suicidal wishes, though no specific motive for his actions, according to French media reports.

After his arrest, authorities found an apparent suicide note and a confused letter criticizing media manipulation, capitalism and government neglect of public housing, and a vague reference to Syria. He claimed to investigators at one point that he worked for the French and Algerian secret services.

Authorities found no terrorism links in Dekhar's shootings, which came before the wave of Islamic extremist attacks that killed more than 200 people in France in 2015 and 2016.

Dekhar already served prison time for a high-profile robbery and deadly car chase in 1994. The so-called Rey-Maupin affair was part of an anarchist plot to sow chaos in Paris.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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