French policeman killed in terror attack married posthumously

Posted at 11:00 PM, Jun 01, 2017

A portrait of Xavier Jugele, the policeman killed by a jihadist in an attack on the Champs Elysees, is pictured during a ceremony on April 25, 2017 at the Paris prefecture building.
French police officer Xavier Jugele was killed on the world-famous Paris avenue on April 20, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Thibault Camus (Photo credit should read THIBAULT CAMUS/AFP/Getty Images)

The police officer who was killed in a terror attack in Paris in April has been married to his partner posthumously, a source with knowledge of the ceremony told CNN.

The wedding of Etienne Cardiles and the late Xavier Jugelé was held in the town hall of the 14th arrondissement in Paris on Tuesday. Mayor Anne Hidalgo and former President Francois Hollande attended the ceremony, according to the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Jugelé was shot dead by an ISIS-inspired attacker on the Champs-Élysées shortly before the French election. Cardiles delivered an emotional tribute to his partner at police headquarters following the attack.

“When the first messages were issued informing Parisians that a serious event was taking place on the Champs-Élysées, and that a policeman had lost his life, a little voice inside told me that it was you,” Cardiles said.

Addressing Jugelé’s killer during the eulogy, Cardiles said: “You will not have my hatred.”

“This hatred, Xavier, I don’t have it because it is not like you. Because it does not correspond to anything that made your heart beat, nor why you entered the police force,” Cardiles said.

“Because public service, helping others and protecting everyone was part of your education and your convictions. And tolerance, dialogue and patience were your strongest weapons.”

Cardiles could not be reached for comment.

Jugelé was a dedicated LGBT activist and had twice volunteered in Greece, aiding migrants, BFMTV reported.

In April, shortly after his death, Jugelé was awarded the Legion of Honor, one of France’s highest honors.

What is a posthumous wedding?

Posthumous marriage is legal in France, under Article 171 of the country’s civil code, according to the French government’s website, though it rarely occurs.

Applicants are required to demonstrate sufficiently serious grounds and to establish the deceased’s willingness to be married. Permission is granted at the discretion of the French President and was given by then-President François Hollande before he left office.

France isn’t the only country to have such a practice. A variation of posthumous marriage is practiced occasionally in China, where “ghost marriages” can be arranged for the deceased, with partners living or dead.

In his April eulogy for Jugelé, Cardiles reflected on the life they had led together.

“A life of joy and laughter, in which love and tolerance were your uncontested masters,” he said. “You lived like a star, you leave like a star.”