A teenager who was named as a third suspect involved in the shootings at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris was released today without charge after his classmates provided an alibi, French media confirms.
Hamyd Mourad, the brother-in-law of siblings Said and Chérif Kouachi who were shot dead by police yesterday after a long manhunt following their massacre of 12 people, was suspected of acting as a get-away driver in the attack on Wednesday that sent shock waves around the world.
French news channel i-Télé confirmed that the 18-year-old from Charleville-Mézières – who had been accused of being involved in the shooting of cartoonists, journalists, visitors, a janitor and two police officers – has been released after around 50 hours in police custody.
Classmates at lycée Monge de Charleville had protested Mourad’s innocence since hearing that turned himself in to the police after seeing his name mentioned on social media and news channels at around 11pm on the day of the murders.
A teenager who tweeted with the handle @babydroma said that Mourad was in her philosophy class. She said: “Please, he was in [school] all morning, he’s in my class.”
The hashtag #MouradHamydInnocent had been trending for the whole day while police sparked a search for the other two suspects. This was prior to the shootings by Amedy Coulibaly, 32, in a kosher supermarket that killed four and an attack that killed 27-year-old police officer Clarissa Jean-Philippe. Police are still trying to trace Hayat Boumeddiene, a 26-year-old woman said to have been Coulibaly’s partner.
Footage of the attack shows the Kouachi brothers, who later took one person hostage at a printing plant in Dammartin-en-Goele, shooting dead Muslim police officer Ahmed Merabet, 42, before allegedly shouting “we have avenged the Prophet Mohamed” and jumping into a stolen car.
The attackers claimed their killing spree was in revenge of cartoons printed on the front of the magazine that satirised Islam. Chérif told BFMTV: “I just want to tell you that we are defenders of the Prophet. I, Chérif Kouachi, was sent by al-Qaeda in Yemen. I was over there. I was financed by Imam Anwar al-Awlaki.”
The attacks on the offices of the satirical magazine happened during the afternoon in the 11th arrondissement of Paris more than 140 miles (230km) away from the school.
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