09/08/2021 8:43 AM
Updated 09/08/2021 9:01 AM
France began a marathon trial on Wednesday over one of the
on its soil, six years after a night of horror in Paris in November 2015 that left 130 dead and a single attacker alive.
Paris woke up on high alert for fear of a new attack.
Its streets are empty but also blocked in the face of a historic trial that started after midday in France with
Moroccan Salah Abdeslam,
the main defendant in the killings and the sole survivor of the attacks, broke his silence for the first time since he was arrested in Belgium in 2016.
"First I would like to testify that
there is no other deity than Allah
and that Muhammad is his messenger."
Jean-Louis Périès truncated this intervention by replying:
"We will see that later."
He later accepted his identity but refused to give his parents' names.
"The names of my father and my mother
have nothing to do
here," he replied.
Finally, when asked about his profession, like all defendants, Salah Abdeslam said that he had "abandoned" his profession "to become
a fighter for the Islamic State
The attacks occurred on November 13 at the Stade de France, north of Paris, on the eastern terraces of the capital and at the Bataclan concert hall.
Salah Abdeslam's lawyers arrive at court.
"A historic trial", "an unusual trial", "nine months to understand", "nine months to judge terror" ... The French press was unanimous on the process of the attacks claimed by the ISIS group.
"It is a leap into the unknown", estimates
Arthur Dénouveaux, Bataclan survivor
and president of the Life for Paris victims association.
"We are looking forward to it starting, although with this question: what will it be like for nine months?"
At 12:30, French time, 7.30am in Argentina), this unprecedented process began its sessions in
a room expressly set up in the Palace of Justice
in Paris, although the first days are devoted to the constitution of civil parties, almost 1,800 .
Gendarmes transfer Salah Abdeslam from prison to court.
All this between
strong security measures
in a context of "risk" of a terrorist threat, government spokesman Gabriel Attal pointed out to the France 2 channel. In 2020, during the trial of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015, new attacks they hit France.
The whole of France will watch this trial, the
whole world will watch this trial," Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said on Monday when visiting the courtroom.
Although all eyes will be on Abdeslam.
This 31-year-old, once a reveler who committed minor crimes before converting to jihadism, is the only survivor of the commandos that attacked Paris
, the "tenth man"
, and the trial must clarify his exact role.
"We will ensure that this exceptional trial does not become an exceptional trial," their lawyers warned.
Twelve of the 20 defendants face life imprisonment for this night of horror that began shortly after 9:15 p.m. in Saint-Denis.
At that moment, a suicide bomber set off his explosives near the Stade de France, where a friendly soccer match between France and Germany was taking place, with thousands of people in the stands, including
then-president François Hollande.
Two more kamikazes followed minutes later, killing a bus driver.
Abdeslam also had to fly himself but
ended up fleeing
to Belgium, because, according to investigators, his explosives belt
Then, in the center of Paris, two commandos of three men each fired at the terraces of bars and restaurants and shot those attending
a concert at the Bataclan,
where the forces of order launched an assault after midnight.
The worst attack in Paris since World War II was 130 dead and more than 350 wounded, at a time when an international coalition was fighting IS in Syria and Iraq and thousands of Syrians were seeking to reach Europe fleeing the war. .
Four years of investigation made it
possible to reconstruct a
large part of the logistics of the attacks and the route that the members of the command followed: along a migratory route from Syria to their rented hideouts in Belgium and near Paris.
a much larger jihadist cell
and also responsible for the attacks that left 32 people dead on March 22, 2016 in the subway and at Brussels airport, another of the attacks that bloodied Europe during those years.
"The survivors of the November 13 attacks have an urgent need to explain what happened, what they suffered," the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, told Le Parisien, for whom this trial will help them in "their reconstruction process." .
For the former Paris prosecutor, François Molins, it
is necessary to build "a collective memory
reaffirming the values of humanity and dignity" and allow "the families of the victims to understand what happened," he told RTL radio.
The first important moment of the trial will begin at the end of September with
the testimonies of the survivors
and relatives of the victims, for five weeks, and their associations have already warned of the emotionality.
Lawyers and parties come to court.
"We feel that there is
(...) Some wonder what will happen to them when they see the defendants in the dock," said Carole Damiani, head of an association to help victims, who received "numerous calls" in recent days .
The questioning of the accused - six of whom are tried in absentia - will arrive in early 2022.
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