Massacre of the Bataclan: the trial of the fighters of the Islamic State accused of mass murder in Paris ends | world news
The trial of 20 men accused of carrying out one of Europe’s worst peacetime terror attacks is set to end in Paris on Wednesday.
The men, all suspected Islamic State terrorists, are accused of killing 130 people and wounding hundreds more in coordinated operations. attacks on November 13, 2015.
Minutes after each, they detonated bombs at the Stade de France, the Bataclan concert hall and opened fire on diners in restaurants in the French capital.
Fourteen are tried in person, six others in absentia, presumed dead or missing while fighting for IS in Syria.
A special secure court was built for the 10-month trial, the largest trial in modern French history.
Five judges heard the depositions of more than 2,000 witnesses, including more than a million pages of evidence, 300 lawyers and testimonies from European counter-terrorism personnel.
The main suspect is Salah Abdeslamthe only surviving member of the group who carried out the attacks – the others are accused of having participated in the plot of the attacks.
Abdeslam’s brother Brahim was also implicated in the bombings but blew himself up at night after shooting dead young Parisians drinking and eating in cafes.
The suspect changed his mind out of “humanity, not fear”
At the start of the trial in November 2021, Abdeslam, 32, defiantly renounced his profession as an “Islamic State fighter”, but in recent weeks, as the trial ended, he asked for forgiveness and was claimed to have deliberately discarded his suicide vest to prevent more people from dying.
“I walk into the cafe, I order a drink, I look at the people around me and I’m like ‘no, I’m not going to,'” he told the court.
“I changed my mind out of humanity, not out of fear.”
On Monday, as the trial ended, he tried to apologize to the victims, saying he was not a murderer.
However, French police and prosecution attorneys said his suicide belt was found to be faulty, providing a more likely reason why he did not detonate it.
Abdeslam, a French national, raised in Belgium and of Moroccan origin, went on the run for four months but was eventually found hiding in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, near his family home.
He faces life in prison if convicted.
Abdeslam’s close friend and co-accused, Mohamed Abrini, is accused of providing weapons and logistical support.
Abrini also took part in suicide attacks in Brussels in 2016, but says he now regrets his involvement.
“I put faces to the victims, I am aware that what happened is disgusting,” he told the court.
“They started spraying bullets everywhere”
Relatives of the dead and witnesses to the attacks have spent months in front of harrowing testimonies in the hope of finally finding the truth and justice.
One of them, Arthur Denouveaux, survived the attack on the Bataclan theater and told Sky News the process helped him.
“Testifying in court and hearing all the testimony from all the victims was very helpful because I saw that I was not alone, which I knew, but it’s somewhat different publicly,” he said. -he declares.
“Then it was broadcast all over France. And maybe all over the world, and it was a strong message of how hard our work was, but how difficult it was.
How the deadly attacks and subsequent manhunt unfolded
“In my memory, when the terrorists arrived, there was a lot of shooting and then a long period of silence before they fired again.
“And it didn’t seem to match what I had read about it. But it was true. They started spraying bullets everywhere.”
“He [Abdeslam] feels very sorry, but I think he’s apologizing to himself. He’s mad at himself for getting into this, and either go into this and not go through with it and end up in this middle ground where he’ll probably be in jail for the rest of his life.”