In the trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015, the verdict must be pronounced this Wednesday evening.
This will end a historic trial, which will have lasted 10 months.
Here are 8 significant dates of this river trial.
Day 1 – Opening of the trial – September 8, 2021
Six years after the events, the trial of the November 13 attacks begins. A historic trial intended to shed light on what happened on November 13, 2015, the attacks in St-Denis and Paris which left 130 dead and 350 injured. These are the bloodiest jihadist attacks ever committed in France. Nearly 1,800 civil parties have formed for this trial.
This trial is taking place under very high surveillance.
The hearings take place in a room built especially for the occasion in the former courthouse in Paris. At the opening, the experts estimate that this trial should last nearly nine months, an unprecedented length for a criminal hearing in France. It will actually last 10 months.
The special assize court is to try twenty defendants, suspected of being involved to varying degrees in the preparation of the attacks. Among these defendants, Salah Abdeslam, the only member of the commando still alive.
Taken from the high security prison of Fleury-Mérogis, he declared at the opening of the trial that he was a “Islamic State fighter“.
Day 10 – Testimony of the first policeman to arrive at the Bataclan – September 22, 2021
From the first weeks, the first witnesses parade at the bar, giving an overview of the sprawling Franco-Belgian investigation and the first elements collected at the nine crime scenes of the attacks.
One day is particularly moving: September 22. The first policeman to arrive at the Bataclan a few minutes after the start of the attack testified anonymously on Wednesday. He brought to life his terrifying progress in the building, the sight of the many corpses, the shooting at the terrorists, the evacuation of the wounded…
As one of the civil party lawyers said, he is one of those “hero“who stood out that evening to help the victims.
Day 42 – Former President François Hollande at the helm – November 10, 2021
His story was eagerly awaited by the families of victims: François Hollande was called to testify by the association of victims LifeforParis. The former head of state told “his” November 13, 2015.
At the helm, this Wednesday, November 10, he details the decisions taken “on that fateful night“, but also those of the months that preceded and followed it. In the packed courtroom of the special assize court, he justified his foreign policy in the Middle East and responded to the controversies.
As if in response to the accusations launched by the terrorists, he indicates that the commando which struck Paris that night had organized itself well before the strikes in Syria which had only intervened on September 27.
This is the first time that a former head of state has testified at the assizes.
Day 63 – the Covid and the trial – January 4, 2022
At the end of December, the main defendant Salah Abdeslam tested positive for Covid-19, showing symptoms of the coronavirus.
The trial, suspended on December 17 for the holiday season, is supposed to resume on January 4. But the Covid-19 disrupts the course of the hearings. “I hope we will finish this trial in 2022!“, launches the president of the court, Jean-Louis Périès.
In total, six of the eleven accused appearing detained, tight in the box, were affected by the Covid, forcing each time to suspend the hearings.
The Covid did not only affect the defendants’ box. The three Advocates General contracted it, one of them during Salah Abdeslam’s long-awaited explanations on his evening of 13 November. Far from the room, he sent his questions by message to his colleagues.
The trial, which was originally scheduled to end at the end of May, will in fact end at the end of June.
Day 113 – Salah Abdeslam presented his “apologies” to the victims – April 15, 2022
He had remained silent for years. His trial offers him the opportunity to express himself. And each statement of Salah Abdeslam is dissected, analyzed. Does he want to clear himself? Does he want to appear despite everything as a boss vis-à-vis his co-defendants? Why did he give up detonating his explosive belt?
In any case, on April 15, at the end of his last interrogation, he presented his “excusesto the victims of the attacks.
“I want to offer my condolences and apologies to all the victims“, said from the box the 32-year-old Frenchman, tears on his cheeks. “I know that hatred remains (…) I ask you today to hate me in moderation“.
Day 122 – “You can’t kill rock’n’roll” – May 17, 2022
“These events changed my life forever.“. These are the words of Jesse Hughes, singer of the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal, who was performing at the Bataclan on the evening of the jihadist attack of November 13, 2015.
He was heard on Tuesday, May 17 by the special assize court in Paris, as part of the trial of the attacks.
In a loud and clear voice, Jesse Hughes recalled how, “in the middle of the concert“He heard gunshots.”Coming from a desert community in Florida, I know the sound of guns. I recognized it was shots“, he said, “I knew what was coming, I felt death approaching me“.
With emotion, he also spoke of his difficult reconstruction and his feeling of guilt, when 90 people who came to see his concert were killed that evening. “I think of the families of the victims every day“, he adds.
Jesse Hughes, however, assured to have “forgiven” to the “poor souls who committed these acts“. And to conclude: “You can’t kill rock’n’roll” (“You can’t kill rock’n’roll“).
Day 137 – End of indictments – June 10, 2022
Between June 8 and 10, the three Advocates General advanced arguments on the guilt of the defendants. And to end their indictments with the penalties claimed for each.
They require sentences ranging from 5 years’ imprisonment to irreducible life against the 20 defendants.
The public prosecutor’s office demanded the heaviest sentences against Salah Abdeslam (life with an incompressible security period) as well as against two senior Islamic State officials, presumed dead in the Iraqi-Syrian zone and tried in their absence. He also requested life imprisonment with a 22-year security sentence against the Belgian Mohammed Abrini, “the man in the hat” of the Brussels attacks.
The National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (Pnat) has thus requested “real life”, an extremely rare sanction, against Salah Abdeslam. It is the heaviest penalty in the penal code. The prosecution considers that Salah Abdeslam is “remained faithful to his ideology to the end“and had never expressed”the slightest remorse“.
Day 147 – End of defense arguments – June 24, 2022
On June 24, Me Olivia Ronen, one of Salah Abdeslam’s two lawyers, completes her long plea in favor of her client, and thus completes the two weeks devoted to the defense of the accused.
The young criminal lawyer launches to the court: “I’m not asking you for courage. I ask you to apply the law with all the rigor that your conscience requires.“.
Salah Abdeslam is “not a psychopath“and shall not be sentenced to”a social death sentenceAt the trial of the November 13 attacks, the defense of the only surviving member of the commandos pleaded on Friday to avoid life imprisonment.
The National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (Pnat) has requested against the 32-year-old Frenchman the heaviest penalty in the criminal code: incompressible life imprisonment, which makes the possibility of release very small.
This sentence has only been pronounced four times for crimes committed against minors by men who have all been recognized “psychopaths in the psychiatric sense of the term“, notes Me Olivia Ronen, one of Salah Abdeslam’s lawyers.
The latter is not “neither psychopath nor sociopath“He is only one”executing deserter” which does not have “not killed“, insists the criminal.
The verdict of the trial is supposed to be delivered this Wednesday, June 29, at the end of the day.