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The macro trial for the 2015 attacks in Paris comes to an end: the judges prepare the sentences


Salah Abdeslam, the only survivor of the commandos that killed 130 people in the Bataclan room, the Stade de France and the terraces of Paris, is exposed to life imprisonment

“I have made mistakes, but I am not a murderer,” said Salah Abdeslam, the main defendant in the November 13, 2015 Islamist attacks in which a nine-man commando murdered 130 people at the Bataclan concert hall, several cafes east of Paris and the Saint-Denis stadium.

Later, the president of the court, Jean-Louis Périès, declared: "The hearing is suspended."

And so it was on Monday seen for sentencing, 10 months after the first session, the largest anti-terrorist trial in the history of France.

The veteran Périès, who plans to retire as soon as he has handed down a sentence, and the rest of the magistrates who make up the court, have locked themselves in a military barracks in the Paris region (the location, for obvious reasons, has not been revealed) to resume the arguments of the accusation and the defense, evaluate the evidence, reconstruct the facts and pronounce, according to their "intimate conviction", the sentences for Abdeslam, the only survivor of the commandos that attacked in Paris and Saint-Denis, and the others 19 accused.

The decision will be announced this Wednesday from 5:00 p.m. local time, in the last session of the trial at the Palace of Justice on the Ile de la Cité, in the French capital.

The Prosecutor's Office has requested irreducible life imprisonment —the term used to refer to life imprisonment in France— for Abdeslam, who participated in the preparations for the attacks, traveled from Belgium to Paris to perpetrate them and finally did not activate (for own decision and “humanity”, as the defendant maintains, or because the detonator failed) the explosive vest with which he was about to commit a massacre and commit suicide.

The irreducible life sentence is only reviewable after 30 years in prison.

It is the highest penalty contemplated by the French Penal Code.

It has rarely been applied.

The rest of the requested sentences range from five years in prison to life for several members of the terrorist cell and fighters of the Islamic State, and irreducible life for Abdeslam and other defendants in absentia.

“Your verdict will not heal wounds, visible or invisible, it will not bring the dead back to life,” said Attorney General Camille Hennetier, one of the three representatives of the National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor's Office, two weeks ago.

"But at least he will be able to ensure that here those who have the last word are law and justice."

Martin Vettes, one of Abdeslam's lawyers, said on Friday while addressing the court: "What is asked of you, deep down, is to sanction Salah Abdeslam in such a way that the sanction is commensurate with the suffering of the victims." victims.

But this is called Talion Law, in a modern and revisited version”.

Everything has been superlative in the macro trial for the bloodiest terrorist attack that this country suffered in a decade marked by indigenous terrorism.

These years have left hundreds of dead and wounded at the hands of the most violent version of Islamism, have led the authorities to pass emergency laws, and have confronted the French with the presence in neighborhoods and cities of young people educated in schools of the Republic and ready to destroy it.

There have been, since September 8, 148 days of hearings, more than 400 testimonies from survivors and relatives, 330 lawyers, five magistrates, security measures and a courtroom built for the occasion, 14 defendants present (and another six absent , perhaps dead in Syria or Iraq), and all recorded by eight cameras: images and sounds for history.

The essential thing was to clarify, as far as possible, the responsibilities of each of the accused and their guilt, but the trial has also had some therapy (some victims, and a nation facing its worst nightmare) and collective catharsis.

“Yes, it has been a catharsis,” Olivier Roy, a professor at the University Institute of Florence and a specialist in Islam, says in an email.

“It has been by allowing the victims to express themselves, get to know each other and, above all, question the accused.

Victims have discovered that they were dealing with ordinary individuals, rather lost, not very sophisticated and not even diabolical superheroes.

In this sense, the process has deflated the


image of the terrorists, an image that circulated through social networks and aroused vocations”.

There is another aspect of the trial that, in Roy's opinion, puts the jihadists in a bad light.

"They claimed that [the attacks] were a response to the intervention of the French army in Syria," he argues.

“But they were radicalized before this intervention.

And they never mentioned the French intervention in Mali, where the French army was on the front line.

You see how they live in an imaginary world, disconnected from the real strategic questions.

Roy, author, among other essays, of

Jihad and death

, questions the discourse according to which “terrorists attack our values”.

“What is the value of the concert at the Bataclan?

In fact, it is a form of leisure.

And in this, both the victims and the magistrates were clear: the objective was not Western values, but simply a way of life, a daily life.

This is what the attorney general summed up with the formula: 'Terrorism is the impossible tranquility'.

Perhaps it is the best way to show the vanity of terrorism.

That is to say, the mismatch between its claim to destroy Western civilization and the futility of its action: it only destroys lives, but not even a way of life, and even less a society”.

In the last hearing, on Monday, the accused took the floor: some cried, one was silent, several expressed their remorse and apologized, others condemned terrorism and assured that they were unaware of the plans of the command with which they collaborated.

Abdeslam (Brussels, 32 years old) wanted to explain what he called his "evolution": the silence since his arrest in 2016 and during his first trial in Belgium, the defiant attitude at the beginning of the process in Paris by declaring himself a "fighter of the Islamic State", and the supposed transformation that he has undergone during these 10 months and that led him in April to say: "I want to offer my condolences and apologies to all the victims."

So remarkable is what, during these months, has been known about the attacks (from the preparations to the detailed reconstruction thanks to the testimonies) and about the functioning of the cells of the Islamic State and the psychology of the terrorists and their accomplices, as what has not happened in this time.

During the process of November 13, 2015, Russia invaded Ukraine and presidential elections were held, but there has been a notable difference with the trial in autumn 2020 for the January 2015 Islamist attacks on the weekly

Charlie Hebdo

and the Hyper-Cacher supermarket, which resulted in sentences ranging from four to 30 years in prison.

During those months, a terrorist of Chechen origin beheaded a high school teacher, Samuel Paty, and a Tunisian immigrant stabbed three people to death in a church in Nice.

This time, France has had a trial in peace.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-06-29

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