France expels Islamist to Algeria


France expelled an Islamist suspected of being a spiritual tutor to a killer in the attack on Charlie Hebdo newspaper as well as to an attacker at a Jewish supermarket in 2015.

Djamel Beghal was put on a plane to Algeria as soon as he was freed from jail after serving a sentence for taking part in an attempted jailbreak of a top Armed Islamic Group member.

Beghal, who had Algerian and French nationalities, was stripped of French citizenship.

His expulsion to Algiers might be followed by a transfer to another African country as part of negotiations between France and Algeria, a source with security issues in Algiers said, naming Burkina Faso as a possible destination.

Investigators suspect Beghal of being a mentor to Cherif Kouachi, one of two brothers who attacked satirical daily Charlie Hebdo in January 2015, and to Amedy Coulibaly, who days later killed four people and a policewoman in the Hyper Cacher Jewish supermarket.

Seventeen people died in the January 2015 attacks, a killing spree that shocked the world and preceded further deadly attacks.

Beghal, Coulibaly and Kouachi crossed paths in prison in 2005 and again five years later in rural France.

Axel Metzker, a lawyer for victims of the Hyper Cacher attack, said he tried, in vain, to block Beghal’s expulsion.

France’s foreign, interior and justice ministries declined to comment.