“I thought I would die executed”: at the trial of the January 2015 attacks, the Paris special assize court on Tuesday plunged back into “barbarism” with the first testimonies of survivors of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, “marked forever “by the drama.
“It was fear in me. It was distress, I could no longer think”: hands clasped on the desk, Corinne Rey, alias Coco, searches for her words, waving her fingers, her throat tightened by emotion.
Under the threat of a Kalashnikov, it was she who composed the code for the front door, allowing the brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi to enter the editorial staff and commit their carnage on January 7, 2015.
“I knew she was a Kalashnikov”, confides the designer of the weekly, recounting her long “ascent on the stairs” until entering the premises of Charlie Hebdo, with the Kouachi brothers “armed until ‘teeth”.
“They said to me: ‘we want Charlie, we want Charb’. I was devastated, as if dispossessed of myself, I couldn’t get anywhere. I went to the code and typed it (. ..). I felt that the terrorists were approaching their goal, I felt an excitement next to me, “says Coco.
Hidden under the desk
As soon as they enter the offices, the terrorists shoot Simon Fieschi, webmaster of the weekly. The eldest, Saïd, stands guard in the entrance, when the younger, Chérif, rushes towards the meeting room. Corinne Rey runs, she hides under a desk.
“I was trembling, we could hear the shots,” explains the designer, as though paralyzed. “After the shots, there was silence, a dead silence (…). I had the impression that they were going to finish the work with all those they had not had in the room” drafting.
The discovery of the massacre and the 10 dead, after the departure of the Kouachi brothers, is a vision of “horror”. “I saw Cabu’s legs. Wolinski was no longer moving. I saw Charb: the side of his face was extremely pale. Riss was hurt, he said to me: ‘don’t worry Coco’ “, she recounts.
On the benches of the courtroom as in the glass boxes where some of the 14 defendants are located, tried for their support for the Kouachi brothers and for Amédy Coulibaly, killer of the Hyper Cacher, a heavy silence fell. Corinne Rey, in tears, catches her breath.
“It’s the talent we killed that day, they were role models for me. They were extremely kind people who had a way of being funny … It’s not easy to ‘be funny, but they were doing it very well, “she says.
Five and a half years after the massacre, the designer, who recently celebrated her 38th birthday, explains that she is still struggling with the “terrible” memories of the attack which “turn a lot” in her head and that she is trying to exorcise, continuing to draw for Charlie Hebdo.
Post-traumatic symptoms also described in the morning by several witnesses, threatened by the Kouachi brothers just before the Charlie Hebdo attack, which decimated the newspaper’s editorial staff and sowed fear in France and the world.
“The attack is like a scar. I see it every day and if I start to scratch it, it hurts me”, said a secretary put in play by the attackers, fired by her company after several stops disease and even today “under anti-depressants”.
Earlier today, the Paris Special Assize Court, seized of a request for release by Ali Riza Polat, one of the main defendants at the trial of the January 2015 attacks, refused to grant it. . The judges expressed concern that the accused will no longer appear before them.
The 35-year-old Franco-Turkish is accused of having played a central role in the preparations for the attacks, helping Amédy Coulibaly to obtain the arsenal used in the attacks of the Hyper Cacher and Montrouge, but also that of Charlie Hebdo, committed by the Kouachi brothers. He is the only one of the eleven defendants present before the Assize Court, to have to answer for “complicity”, a crime punishable by criminal imprisonment for life.