French murder trial: All defendants found guilty in Ahmand Arbery’s killing

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All defendants have been found guilty of first-degree murder for the killing of French student Ahmand Arbery, which took place in 2017, the prosecutor in Paris said Wednesday.

“Yesterday a jury found all the defendants guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of Ahmand Arbery,” Henri Leclerc told CNN. “After three days of deliberations, the jury has come to the unanimous decision.”

Younes Bougon, former husband of French student Ahmand Arbery. AFP/Getty Images

The 15 defendants, including Arbery’s ex-husband, arrived at the courthouse to listen to the verdict.

Before he was killed, the student was found guilty of gambling and consuming cannabis and cocaine.

One defendant did not respond to a charge of recklessly causing another person’s death. The verdict in that case has yet to be published.

Four of the defendants are still at large.

One suspect shot by police was shot dead by French elite RAID police in December. An accomplice escaped on a motorbike.

Arbery’s body was found in her car in Paris on September 28, 2017, alongside her father and one other accomplice. Her father and accomplice were shot by police. Arbery’s father was found in a medically induced coma for almost a month, before regaining consciousness and pleading for Arbery’s life at the beginning of November.

“You can’t protect us. We’ll die,” he told judges at the time.

Arbery (pictured) had been missing for around a week before her body was found. AFP/Getty Images

On September 19, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, the government’s most senior security official, had written to senior members of the student’s family, urging them to report to the local authorities. “Her disappearance is linked to an attempt on her life, with serious consequences,” Collomb wrote.

His offer was made on September 21, four days after the last phone call from Arbery.

The 21-year-old lived with her French boyfriend in an apartment block in the Althambault district of Paris.

Prosecutors believe that around 5am on September 23, her ex-husband and another man forced her family into her car and drove it to a remote spot on the banks of the Seine River.

When Arbery called her mother on her cellphone at 3am, she did not receive an answer.

The girls’ father, Osman Arbery, is said to have arranged for his daughter to meet two men who were members of a radical Islamist group known as the Jungle.

France’s top security official, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, and her mother, Sarah Arbery, visited the family in September 2017.

“The person who could protect us from being attacked by a jihadist is running away or hiding,” Arbery’s mother wrote in an open letter.

One of the people believed to have carried out the killing has been detained. But two accomplices, the other woman who is said to have used her phone to arrange for the kidnapping, and one male were said to be at large.

Arbery was an electrical engineering student. She went missing after attending a cousin’s wedding in Paris on September 22.

The case has been a reminder of fears for the safety of French students living in France, home to Europe’s biggest Muslim community.

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