What Will Happen To Mourad Hamyd, The Only Surviving 'Charlie Hebdo' Suspect?
Said & Cherif Kouachi, the brothers suspected of the terrorist attack that killed 12 people at a satirical newspaper in France, reportedly told police Friday they wanted to die as martyrs. They died after shooting at security forces during a hostage situation outside of Paris. Often, terrorist attacks leave the perpetrators dead in what they believe is a honorable sacrifice for their beliefs — but this time, there's one person left who could provide more insight into the motives behind the attack. Mourad Hamyd, an 18-year-old accused of being the third suspect in the Charlie Hebdo attack, turned himself in to police Wednesday night.
Officials have said Hamyd's role in the attack was as the driver of the getaway car, but there's no information about how police got Hamyd's name and what connection he may or may not have with the Kouachi brothers. Classmates, using the Twitter hashtag #MouradHamydInnocent, claim he was in school when the attacks took place and therefore did not have anything to do with the deaths, The New Yorker reports, though the outlet points out there are ways to be involved in terrorist attacks without being physically present.
So, what will happen to Hamyd as as the sole suspect who is still alive? It's a little unclear, because his involvement has yet to be determined. He turned himself in to police apparently after hearing his name in the media, so he appears to be cooperating with authorities.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing attacks in 2013 with his brother, is facing the same question of what his fate holds. Lawyers will likely try to save him from the death penalty by arguing that he fell under his brother's coercions and was simply led along by a dominating force. The same tack might be used if its found that Hamyd did play a role in the killings — perhaps he, too, was led along a path of destruction by older, dominant leaders.
Terrorists who have been captured and convicted have faced a variety of fates, from serving a few years in prison to the death sentence. Anders Breivik, who killed more than 75 people in Norway, was given the maximum sentence — 21 years in prison — under a tolerant Norwegian law where courts questioned whether Breivik was sane enough to stand trial. Some Sept. 11 terrorists are still awaiting trial more than 10 years after the attack. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber who killed 168 people, was executed only four years after being convicted of the attack, and Eric McDavid, who was convicted of environmental terrorism served nine years before winning an early release on Thursday because authorities withheld documents during his trial.
If authorities determine that Hamyd was involved in the terrorist attack in France, which at this point is being heavily questioned, there are various outcomes he could face. But with the Kouachi brothers dead and al Qaeda claiming it directed the attack, Hamyd could be the only one who can give investigators answers.