” The trial of 20 men accused in a series of coordinated attacks on Paris in 2015 that spread fear across Europe and transformed France opened Wednesday in a custom-built complex embedded within a 13th-century courthouse.
Nine Islamic State group gunmen and suicide bombers struck within minutes of one another at several locations around Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, leaving 130 people dead and hundreds wounded. It was the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II and among the worst terror attacks to hit the West.
The worst carnage was at the Bataclan concert hall, where three men with assault rifles gunned down scores of people and grabbed a handful of hostages. Others targeted the national soccer stadium, where the president was attending a game, as well as cafes filled with people on a mild autumn night.
The lone surviving attacker from that night, Salah Abdeslam, is the key defendant — but he has so far refused to speak to investigators, denying them answers to many of the remaining questions about the attacks and the people who planned them. Abdeslam, whose brother was among the suicide bombers, appeared wearing a black short-sleeved shirt and black trousers, his long hair tied back.
When asked to state his profession, he declared he was “a fighter for Islamic State” after intoning a prayer.
Abdeslam, who fled the night of the attacks after ditching his car and a malfunctioning suicide vest, is the only defendant charged with murder. The other defendants present face lesser terrorism charges.
The presiding judge, Jean-Louis Peries, acknowledged the extraordinary nature of the attacks, which changed security in Europe and France’s political landscape, and the trial to come. France only emerged from the state of emergency declared in the wake of the attacks in 2017, after incorporating many of the harshest measures into law.
“The events that we are about to decide are inscribed in their historic intensity as among the international and national events of this century,” he said.
Dominique Kielemoes, whose son bled to death at one of the cafes, said hearing victims’ testimonies at the trial will be crucial to both their own healing and that of the nation.” apnews.com
Comment: I am reminded by this process of justice that the defendants’ fellow jihadis like to have the condemned kneel in their orange jump suits while some hirsute animal in human form grabs him by the hair and saws off his head with a bowie knife look-alike.
I suggest that the engine of decapitation be constructed at the site of the Bataclan and that those condemned be brought to visit it several times before their big day. pl
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