Verdict in terror trial: life imprisonment for Paris attacker Abdeslam

In November 2015, Islamist terrorists carried out a massacre in Paris.

Verdict in terror trial: life imprisonment for Paris attacker Abdeslam

In November 2015, Islamist terrorists carried out a massacre in Paris. 130 people are killed. Only one of the ten attackers is alive today: Salah Abdeslam. The 32-year-old received the maximum sentence for his involvement in the attack.

Six and a half years after the Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, a jury sentenced the main suspect to life imprisonment in the evening. The Frenchman Salah Abdeslam should have the opportunity to have his prison sentence reduced in 30 years at the earliest. This is the highest possible penalty in France. The 32-year-old is considered the only survivor of the terrorist squad at the time. Of the 20 accused, 19 were found guilty on all counts. The penalty ranges from two years to life imprisonment.

The pronouncement of the verdict by the jury in the Palais de Justice in Paris was delayed until the evening. Therefore, the presiding judge, Jean-Louis Périès, finally decided not to read the 120 pages of the verdict in full. The defendants followed the reasoning with serious faces. Périès listed at a fast pace, which is why the court considers virtually all allegations to be proven.

In the course of more than 140 days of negotiations, the series of attacks of November 13, 2015 was rolled out. That evening, within a few hours, Islamist extremists had killed 130 people and injured 350 others. In the evening they massacred the "Bataclan" concert hall and also spread their terror in bars and restaurants. In addition, three suicide bombers blew themselves up during an international football match between Germany and France at the Stade de France.

The terrorist organization Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attacks. Most of the attackers blew themselves up in the attacks. One was shot dead by the police later that evening. Others died in a police operation a few days later. Most of the attention at the trial focused on Abdeslam, whose explosive belt had failed. He was caught in Brussels only after months of fleeing. The prosecution saw the Frenchman as a key figure in the attacks. His older brother Brahim was among the assassins who blew himself up in a bar. The two grew up in the Brussels community of Molenbeek, which is known as a haven for radical Islamists.

Salah Abdeslam worked as a mechanic, had temporary jobs and was arrested in 2011 for attempted theft. In the process, he blamed the Paris attacks on French politicians. He only partially answered questions, complained about the prison conditions and glorified IS. He even made a declaration of love for the terrorist organization. Six of the other 19 accused were tried in absentia. One of them is imprisoned in Turkey, five probably died in Syria. The men are said to have obtained papers, to have driven Abdeslam out of the country or to have been a failed assassin.

The attacks changed France forever. Many saw them as an attack on the French way of life. In contrast to previous attacks against certain professional groups or denominations, nobody seemed safe after this night of terror. According to the prosecution, the extremists did not care who they killed. In France, many had hoped for answers from the accused and, in some cases, from politicians as well. However, there was no significant gain in knowledge. The accused did not provide any information about the masterminds and plans of the terrorist militia.

The frustration and disappointment, especially among the survivors and their relatives, is likely to be correspondingly great. For weeks, hundreds of them relived the night of terror in the courtroom specially made for the trial and reported physical and mental wounds. The process only partially satisfied their expectations.

"The pain is there. It will not be reduced. I will be inconsolable," said the father of a killed young man, who traveled from Algeria for the entire process, to the broadcaster France 2. Bilal Mokono, who was paralyzed by an assassin, said: "If we look at the When we look at the dock, we see these young people, these very young people, who look like our children." You ask yourself, "Why, why, why? What have we missed that is making things so out of hand?"

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