JUSTICE – The trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015 opened on Wednesday before the special assize court in Paris. It is to last until May 25. 20 people are on trial, including six in their absence.
Aurélie Sarrot –
It was almost an hour late, following “technical problems”, that the trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015 opened on Wednesday before the special assize court in Paris. In the courtroom, lawyers, journalists, civil parties, gendarmes in number and 14 accused including 11 in the box, including the one that some have long designated – and still designate – as public enemy number 1 : Salah Abdeslam.
As justice dictates, President Jean-Louis Périès asks them in turn to stand up, and to disclose their identity. All dressed in black, shoulder-length hair, beard visible under the mask, Salah Abdeslam, the only survivor of the commando of the Stade de France, the terraces and the Bataclan, is the first to speak.
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The extraordinary trial of the November 13 attacks
In opening remarks, he launches: “First of all I want to make it clear that there is no god except Allah and that Mohamed is his servant and his messenger.” The President’s response is: “Okay, we’ll see that later.” Jean-Louis Périès resumes: “Date of Birth ?” This time, Abdeslam responds. Asked about the profession he exercises, he declares: “I gave up any profession to become an Islamic State fighter.” The president recalls that his file indicates that he is “warehouseman”. After this first moment of tension, all the other defendants present in turn lend themselves to the exercise, some with the help of an interpreter.
“Maintain justice in its dignity”
Then Jean-Louis Périès in his red dress addresses the audience: “The code of penal procedure does not provide for the president of the Assize Court to make an introductory statement. Allow me nevertheless these few words marked with the greatest humility.”
He pursues : “We are starting a trial described as historic and unusual. It is also unusual in terms of the number of interveners, the number of victims, the number of civil parties and counsel, the number of witnesses on the stand. and the means devolved by the State. Historical certainly because the facts, by their dramatic intensity, are part of the national and international events of this century “.
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For this historic trial, out of the ordinary, the magistrate wishes to recall the rules from the outset. “What matters is respect for the norm, with respect for everyone, starting with respect for the rights of the defense … It is a superfluous reminder, but it is necessary to recall it. Our court Assize’s function is to examine the charges against each of the accused and draw the consequences after hearing each of them.We must all keep in mind this noble purpose and keep this course to maintain justice in its dignity. I know I can trust each of you to do it. ”
Malaise of an accused in the box
The president then announces the opening of the debates. For several hours, the lawyers of the civil parties take the stand to give the court the names of the victims they are accompanying in this trial. A long but essential moment, punctuated by several incidents.
In the middle of the afternoon first: Jean-Louis Périès finds himself obliged to suspend the hearing after the accused Farid Kharkhach became unwell and was extracted from the box by the soldiers. After a half-hour suspension, the lawyers of this 39-year-old man prosecuted for providing false papers to the terrorist cell denounce the prison situation of their client, his “solitary confinement”, the “two strip searches he underwent before arriving in the box”. One of his advice insists: “He doesn’t do that to be a comedy. He doesn’t want to be noticed. He’s weakened.”
Salah Abdeslam does not take long to react to denounce the way in which the accused are taken care of. “We’re treated like dogs. I’ve been treated like a dog for over 6 hours. Here (in the room, editor’s note), it’s beautiful, there are cameras, there is air conditioning, but behind, we are treated like dogs “, he gets angry standing in the box. “Because you are a pig”, retorts aloud a civil party present at the hearing. “You didn’t have to kill 130 people!”, let go of another.
With his finger raised, the main accused then addressed the President: “I respect you so respect me. I have never complained in 6 years. After death, we will be resurrected. You too will be held to account.” Jean-Louis Périès asks him to stop there. Salah Abdeslam sits down. And calm returns.
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