One surviving attacker in the 2015 Paris attacks sentenced for life

The Bataclan theatre terrorist attack of 2015 has left only one survivor.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
02 July 2022 Saturday 08:24
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One surviving attacker in the 2015 Paris attacks sentenced for life

The Bataclan theatre terrorist attack of 2015 has left only one survivor. He was convicted of murder, sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. This is the most severe sentence in France and the most rare. Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the exceptional case over the 2015 attacks that killed 130 people and were claimed to be by Islamic State group, was sentenced to life without parole.

A special court for terrorism found him guilty Wednesday of attempted murder and murder in connection to a terrorist enterprise. The court found his explosive vest had malfunctioned and dismissed his argument that he had thrown it away because he didn't want to continue with his attack.

Wednesday's verdict by a French special court found 19 others guilty of the attack on Paris' Bataclan theatre, Paris cafes and France’s national stadium. This was the most violent peacetime attack in French history. Jean-Louis Peries, the presider, read the verdicts in a courthouse with unprecedented security. This concluded a nine-month-long trial.

Apart from Abdeslam and 18 others, Abdeslam was also convicted of terrorism-related charges. One person was convicted of a lesser fraud offense. Abdeslam, who was convicted on nine months of trial, proclaimed his radicalism and wept. He also pleaded for forgiveness from the judges for his "mistakes." The trial was a difficult but crucial step in the families of victims and survivors.

The victims' harrowing stories were heard in the main chamber and 12 additional rooms of the 13th-century Justice Palace. Abdeslam also testified. Most of the other defendants are accused of being involved in logistics and transportation. At least one of the defendants is accused of direct involvement in the March 2016 Brussels attacks, which were also claimed by the Islamic State group. The trial provided survivors and mourners with the opportunity to share their personal stories and hear about the many acts of kindness, humanity, and bravery among strangers. While some hoped for justice in the end, most people just wanted to tell the accused that they are still scarred but not broken. Dominique Kielemoes stated that the terrorist assassins thought they were shooting into a crowd. One of the cafes was where her son died. Kielemoes stated that hearing the stories of victims was crucial for both their healing and the nation's. She said, "It wasn’t a mass. These were individuals who lived, loved, had hopes, and had expectations."

France was transformed by the attacks. Authorities declared a state emergency and now armed officers patrol public spaces. France and Europe were both affected by the violence, as most of the attackers were French-born and raised. They changed the lives of everyone who was affected or witnessed.

Jean-Louis Peries, the presidency judge, stated at the beginning of the trial that it belonged to "international events and national events of this Century." France was able to lift the emergency state in 2017 after it incorporated many of the most severe measures into its law. 14 of the defendants were present in court, including Abdeslam who was the sole survivor from the 10-member attack team that terrorized Paris on Friday night. The six men absent are all presumed to have died in Syria or Iraq. The other one is currently in Turkish prison. The majority of the suspects are accused in creating false identities, transporting terrorists back to Europe via Syria, or providing money, phones, explosives, or weapons. Abdeslam, a Belgian citizen of Moroccan descent, was the only one to be tried for multiple counts of murder and kidnapping while a member of terrorist organizations.

Abdeslam's request for a life sentence in prison without parole was only pronounced four times in France for crimes related to the rape or murder of minors. Nine other defendants are being sought by the prosecution to receive life sentences. The rest of the suspects were convicted on lesser terrorist charges. They could face sentences from five to thirty years. Prosecutors stressed that all twenty defendants were members of the Islamic State extremist group. They had been armed with semiautomatic rifles and explosives-packed vests in order to stage parallel attacks. Nicolas Braconnay, a prosecutor, said this month that not everyone is a Jihadi. However, all those you are judging have accepted to be part of a terrorist organization, whether by cowardice, greed, conviction or cowardice.

Some of the defendants, including Abdeslam said innocent civilians were being targeted by France's policies towards the Middle East. They also claimed that hundreds of civilians died in Western airstrikes on Islamic State-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq. Francois Hollande, the former president of France, denied that Hollande's government was responsible during his testimony. Hollande stated that the Islamic State, "this pseudostate", declared war with the weapons and war arms of war. He said that the Paris attackers didn't terrorize, shoot, kill or maim civilians for their religion. It was barbarism and fanaticism. Olivia Ronen, Abdelslam’s lawyer, told the judges during closing arguments Monday that her client was the only one of the attackers that didn't set off explosives that night to kill other people. She argued that he cannot be convicted of murder. Ronan stated, "If a life sentence is pronounced without any hope of ever experiencing freedom again, I fear that we have lost a sense for proportion." She stressed throughout the trial that she was not defending her client in court to give legitimacy to the accusations. Monday's final court appearance saw Abdeslam offer his sincere and deepest apologies to victims. He said that he was changed by hearing the victims' stories of "so much pain" He said, "I have made errors, it's true. But I amn't a murderer, and I amn't a killer."

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