Published on November 13, 2021 in France24
Twenty men went on trial on September in connection with the deadliest attack in peacetime France. Salah Abdeslam, a 32-year-old French-Moroccan man, is believed to be the only surviving member of the group suspected of carrying out the attacks after other members either blew themselves up or were killed by police. The other 19 suspects stand accused of helping to provide guns or cars or of otherwise playing a role in organising the attacks.
Most of the accused face life imprisonment if convicted.
On that grim Friday night six years ago, Islamic State group terrorists killed 130 people in coordinated mass shootings and suicide bombings at the Bataclan music hall, on Paris restaurant terraces and outside the Stade de France football venue just north of the city. Nearly a quarter of those slain were foreign nationals. Many had gone to watch California rockers Eagles of Death Metal on stage at the Bataclan, where the attack claimed 90 lives.
Years in the making, a trial unprecedented in scale and befitting a 1-million-page investigation file began on September 8. Over the course of nine months, the 20 stand accused in a special €8 million made-to-measure courtroom inside the historic Palais de Justice courthouse complex, a stone's throw from Notre-Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris. The verdict is expected next May.
The court has registered more than 2,300 plaintiffs to the proceedings, including 215 foreign nationals and three French dual nationals from 36 different countries from Mexico to Cameroon, Egypt to Japan.
Hundreds of survivors and family members of the deceased are also testifying before the court.