Paris attacks: Main suspect tells trial he’s ‘an Islamic State soldier’

Salah Abdeslam, 31, appeared in courtroom wearing black and carrying a black face masks, one among 20 males accused of involvement within 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.

Asked his career, the French-Moroccan eliminated his face masks and instructed a Paris courtroom: “I gave up my job to become an Islamic State soldier.”

He is believed to be the one surviving member of the group that carried out the assaults. The different suspects are accused of serving to to offer weapons and automobiles or arrange the assaults, which additionally injured a whole lot and scarred the nation’s psyche.

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Responsibility for the assaults was claimed by Islamic State, which had urged followers to assault France over its involvement within the battle towards the militant group in Iraq and Syria.

The trial will take place in a specially built courtroom, pictured on September 2, 2021.

Victor Edou, a lawyer for eight Bataclan survivors, mentioned Abdeslam’s assertion was “very violent.”

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“Some of my clients are not doing too well…after hearing a statement that they took as a new, direct threat,” he mentioned. “It’s going to be like that for nine months.”

Others mentioned they have been making an attempt to not connect a lot significance to Abdeslam’s feedback.

“I need more to be shocked … I’m not afraid,” mentioned Thierry Mallet, a Bataclan survivor.

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Asked by the courtroom’s prime decide to present his identify, Abdeslam used the Shahada, an Islamic oath, saying: “I want to testify that there is no god except Allah and that Mohammed is his servant.”

Other defendants merely gave their names and professions.

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Before 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 is important that the victims can bear witness, can tell the perpetrators, the suspects who are on the stand, about the pain,” mentioned Philippe Duperron, whose 30-year-old son Thomas was killed within the assaults.

“We are also awaiting anxiously because we know that as this trial takes place the pain, the events, everything will come back to the surface.”

The trial is anticipated to final 9 months, with almost 1,800 plaintiffs and greater than 300 attorneys concerned in what Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti known as an unprecedented judicial marathon. The courtroom’s prime decide, Jean-Louis Peries, mentioned it was a historic trial.

Eleven of the 20 defendants are already in jail pending trial and 6 can be tried in absentia — most of them are believed to be lifeless. Most face life imprisonment if convicted.

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Police mounted tight safety across the Palais de Justice courthouse in central Paris. Defendants appeared behind a strengthened glass partition in a purpose-built courtroom and all folks should cross by means of a number of checkpoints to enter the courtroom.

“The terrorist threat in France is high, especially at times like the attacks’ trial,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin instructed France Inter radio.

The first 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 be questioned concerning the night time of the assaults and the week earlier than them till March.

A verdict just isn’t anticipated earlier than late May, however Bataclan survivor Gaetan Honore, 40, mentioned being there from the beginning mattered.

“It was important to be here on the first day, symbolically. I’m hoping to understand, somehow, how this could happen,” he mentioned.

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