November 13 attacks: life imprisonment for Salah Abdeslam

More than six years after the jihadist attacks of November 13, 2015, the worst attacks ever perpetrated in France, the Paris Assize Court on Wednesday evening sentenced Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of a commando that killed 130 people, to life imprisonment. the heaviest penalty in the Criminal Code.

Islamist commandos opened fire on cafe and restaurant terraces, attacked the Bataclan concert hall during a concert and three suicide bombers blew themselves up during a France-France football match near the Stade de France.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

On Wednesday, the five professional judges followed the demands of the public prosecutor’s office, which had requested this extremely rare sanction against the sole defendant of the box convicted as a co-author of the attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis near the capital “appalled and stunned” France.

The inescapable life sentence, also called “real life”, makes the possibility for the convicts to get a parole very slim. It had only been said four times before.

Salah Abdeslam, in a khaki polo shirt in the box, remained unmoved as the verdict was delivered after 148 days of hearings, making it the longest trial in French judicial history.

His lawyers, My Olivia Ronen and Martin Vettes, had argued on Friday against this irrevocable life sentence, a “slow death penalty”.

“I’m not an assassin, I’m not a murderer,” the 32-year-old Frenchman said in his last words in court on Monday morning, repeating his “sincere” apologies to the victims.

The court considered his explosive vest to be “defective” and “seriously questioned” the statements made by the person concerned about his “waiver”.

“Rebuilding as a Group”

In the specially built courtroom, which had never seen such a crowd, only murmurs greeted the conviction of the main defendant in this extremely rare sentence.

Many of the civilians involved, who had huddled together on the light-colored wooden benches, hugged after the verdict was announced. Others had tears in their eyes.

“The path in the face of this horror was to rebuild as a group, not individually. We had to stick together and listen to what the judiciary had to say to us after six and a half years,” said Arthur Dénouveaux, president of the Life for Paris victims’ association and Bataclan survivor.

The professional judges convicted Salah Abdeslam’s 19 co-defendants and charged only one of them, Farid Kharkhach, as a terrorist.

Mohamed Abrini, the “man in the hat” behind the Brussels attacks, who was also “planned” in the November 13 commandos, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a 22-year security penalty.

Swede Osama Krayem, Tunisian Sofien Ayari and Belgian-Moroccan Mohamed Bakkali were sentenced to 30 years in prison with two-thirds security.

Pakistani Muhammad Usman and Algerian Adel Haddadi, the two “disgruntled activists” charged with being part of the commando but blocked from returning from Syria, were each sentenced to 18 years in prison.

More than 2,600 civil parties

The three defendants, who appeared free, have been given suspended sentences and will not be returned to prison.

Penalties range from two years to life imprisonment.

“The penalties are quite high. You don’t get out of jail right away. We will enjoy it, I feel very relieved. 10 months trial period, it helps to rebuild. It’s over, there will be a void, “commented Sophie, a survivor of the Bataclan, at the exit of the courtroom with tears in her eyes.

Six defendants were tried in absentia, including five senior Islamic State officials who were presumed dead, including alleged sponsor of the attacks, Belgian Oussama Atar.

Former President François Hollande, who was in office at the time of the attacks, welcomed the end of the “extraordinary” and “exemplary” process.

“The guilty have been tried in accordance with the law. France has argued that our democracy can be firm without questioning its rules and principles,” said the former head of state, who testified before the Special Court in Paris last November.

Six years after a night of terror that traumatized France, and after a tide trial marked by the chilling stories of survivors or loved ones at the helm – from more than 2,600 civil parties – defense attorneys had warned the court against the temptation of “extraordinary justice” “Dated feeling guided.

Of the commando of ten suicide bombers on November 13, 2015, only Salah Abdeslam is still alive. The other nine are dead, killed either by their explosive belts being triggered on the night of the attack or by police fire.

Leave a Comment