Who is Yvan Colonna? Jihadist kills Corsican Nationalist Over Alleged Blasphemy of Prophet

Corsican independence activist Yvan Colonna was killed by a jihadist jail inmate after accusing him of blasphemy. He died three weeks after his attack by the jihadist detainee in prison. Colonna was in a coma for more than 20 days after being beaten by Franck Elong Abé on March 2. The activist was serving life imprisonment for the assassination of a local official when his fellow inmate launched an attack on him.

The family lawyer of Colonna, Patrice Spinosi, shared the news with local media. He said the family members confirmed his death at the Marseille hospital on Monday evening. There will be no further comments from their side, the lawyer added.

The Assault

The jihadist detainee, who was in Arles remand center for terror offenses, allegedly launched an attack on the Corsican nationalist while the latter was working out in the prison gym. Abé tried to suffocate Colonna with a bean bag and strangled him with bare hands when the activist was busy with a weight training session at the gymnasium of the Arles remand center.

The jihadist accused his inmate of speaking badly about the prophet before attacking him. Colonna was admitted to a hospital in Arles immediately after the assault. Later, he was shifted to Marseille. The assault left the activist in a coma for three weeks.

Yvan Colonna

The incident provoked riots in Corsica as many people saw him as a hero who was part of the island's campaign for independence from France. Following the assault, the protesters questioned the prison authorities' lack of efficiency to prevent it. The island witnessed one of the most violent and biggest protests in decades.

The Protest

Thousands of people from the island gathered together onto the streets chanting "Statu Francese assassinu" (French state assassin) and "Liberta" (freedom). Some protesters also lobbed petrol bombs and stones at police. In the protest, several people got injured. Out of the 67 people injured in the city of Bastia, 44 were police officers, reported BBC.

Yvan Colonna
Corsican nationalist Yvan Colonna died on March 21. Twitter

Who is Yvan Colonna?

The Corsican independence activist was sentenced to life in prison in 1998 for the assassination of Claude Erignac, a top regional official. He was born in April 1960 as the son of Jean-Hugues Colonna, a recipient of the French Légion d'honneur and the former member of the National Assembly for the Socialist Party.

Colonna attacked the local official on February 6, 1998, when he was coming out of a theatre in Ajaccio. The official died immediately after being shot by the activist. Although police officers looked for him, he fled the place. He was arrested five years after the incident in 2003 from the Corsican mountains, where he was living as a shepherd. It was considered one of the biggest manhunts in the history of France.

Following the prison assault, All the charges against Colonna were suspended by the French judiciary for medical reasons. He died at the age of 61.