© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A commemorative plaque for the victims of Paris’ November 2015 assaults is seen close to the bar and restaurant beforehand named Comptoir Voltaire in Paris, France, September 1, 2021. Twenty defendants will stand the trial of Paris’ November 2015 a
By Tangi Salaün and Yiming Woo
PARIS (Reuters) -The primary suspect in a jihadist rampage that killed 130 individuals throughout Paris described himself defiantly as “an Islamic State soldier” and shouted on the high decide on Wednesday at the beginning of a trial into the 2015 assaults.
Salah Abdeslam, 31, is believed to be the one surviving member of the group that carried out the gun-and-bomb assaults on six eating places and bars, the Bataclan live performance corridor and a sports activities stadium on Nov. 13, 2015, during which lots of have been injured.
He appeared in court docket wearing black and carrying a black face masks. Requested his occupation, the French-Moroccan eliminated his masks and advised the Paris court docket: “I gave up my job to develop into an Islamic State soldier.”
Whereas the opposite defendants, who’re accused of offering weapons, automobiles or serving to plan the assaults, merely answered routine questions on their identify and occupation and in any other case remained quiet, Abdeslam clearly sought to make use of the beginning of the trial as a platform.
Requested by the court docket’s high decide to provide his identify, Abdeslam used the Shahada, an Islamic oath, saying: “I need to testify that there is no such thing as a god besides Allah and that Mohammad is his servant.”
He later shouted on the court docket’s high decide for 2 minutes, saying the defendants had been handled “like canines”, BFM tv reported, including that somebody within the public part of the court docket, the place victims and victims’ family members sit, shouted again: “You bastard, 130 individuals have been killed.”
Victor Edou, a lawyer for eight Bataclan survivors, had mentioned earlier that Abdeslam’s assertion that he’s an Islamic State soldier was “very violent”.
“A few of my purchasers are usually not doing too properly… after listening to a press release that they took as a brand new, direct risk,” he mentioned. “It will be like that for 9 months.”
Others mentioned they have been attempting to not connect a lot significance to Abdeslam’s feedback.
“I would like extra to be shocked … I am not afraid,” mentioned Thierry Mallet, a Bataclan survivor.
Accountability for the assaults was claimed by Islamic State, which had urged followers to assault France over its involvement within the struggle in opposition to the militant group in Iraq and Syria.
IMPATIENT AND ANXIOUS
Earlier than the trial, survivors and victims’ family members had mentioned they have been impatient to listen to testimony which may assist them higher perceive what occurred and why it did so.
“It will be important that the victims can bear witness, can inform the perpetrators, the suspects who’re on the stand, in regards to the ache,” mentioned Philippe Duperron, whose 30-year-old son Thomas was killed within the assaults.
“We’re additionally ready anxiously as a result of we all know that as this trial takes place the ache, the occasions, every thing will come again to the floor.”
The trial is predicted to final 9 months, with almost 1,800 plaintiffs and greater than 300 legal professionals concerned in what Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti referred to as an unprecedented judicial marathon. The court docket’s high decide, Jean-Louis Peries, mentioned it was an historic trial.
Eleven of the 20 defendants are already in jail pending trial and 6 might be tried in absentia – most of them are believed to be useless. Most face life imprisonment if convicted.
Police mounted tight safety across the Palais de Justice courthouse in central Paris. Defendants appeared behind a bolstered glass partition in a purpose-built courtroom and all individuals should go via a number of checkpoints to enter the court docket.
“The terrorist risk in France is excessive, particularly at instances just like the assaults’ trial,” Inside Minister Gerald Darmanin advised France Inter radio.
The primary days of the trial are anticipated to be largely procedural. Victims’ testimonies are set to begin on Sept. 28. Questioning of the accused will begin in November however they don’t seem to be set to testify in regards to the night time of the assaults and the week earlier than them till March.
A verdict just isn’t anticipated earlier than late Might, however Bataclan survivor Gaetan Honore, 40, mentioned being there from the beginning mattered.
“It was essential to be right here on the primary day, symbolically. I am hoping to know, in some way, how this might occur,” he mentioned.