Trial Against 20 people Involved in November 13 Attacks in Paris has Begun
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed 130 people
The trial against 20 people accused of their role in the attacks on November 13, 2015 in the French capital, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility and which took the lives of 130 people and injured hundreds, begins in Paris today, the Associated Press reported, quoted by BTA. The court hearings start in a huge specially built courtroom.
There were nine perpetrators of the attacks. Within hours, on the evening of November 13, they attacked the area of the national stadium in the suburb of Saint-Denis, the Bataclan concert hall, restaurants and cafes.
Only one of the perpetrators survived - Salah Abdeslam. He is among the defendants. These were the bloodiest terrorist acts in France since World War II. ISIS is also responsible for the attacks in Brussels, which took place a few months later and claimed the lives of 32 people.
Today, only 14 of the 20 accused will be present in the courtroom. Six have been tried in absentia, five of whom are presumed dead, and the sixth is unknown. Most defendants could face life sentences if convicted of complicity in the attacks. Only Salah Abdeslam is charged with murder. After the attacks in Paris, he abandoned his car with his explosive belt unused and fled to his hometown of Brussels, where he was captured.
The process is the largest in French history. After the complainants, there are nearly 1,800 victims of the attack, including the survivors and families of those killed. They and the accused were represented by 330 lawyers. All this necessitated the construction of a special modern courtroom. It was built in the 13th-century courthouse in Paris, where Marie-Antoinette and Emile Zola were tried.
The new courtroom can accommodate up to 550 people, it also has huge screens and 12 cameras. For the first time, they will also have a secure audio connection for the victims of the attacks to listen to court hearings from home if they wish. However, the streaming will be a 30-minute delay from the initial hour.
The process should last nine months. This month will be dedicated to presenting the evidence gathered by police and pathologists. The victims will speak in October. Officials such as former President Francois Hollande and relatives of the attackers will testify from November to December.
From January to March 2022, the accused will be interrogated. Abdeslam will be questioned several times. In early April, experts will present a psychological assessment of the accused. The final arguments will be presented in May, with the verdict expected at the end of the same month.
Security measures around the courthouse during court hearings include splitting the surrounding streets, even for pedestrian traffic and parking. The courthouse is located on an island in the middle of the Seine. Traffic and parking along the banks of the river will also be blocked during the meetings. There will be different entry points for different parties to the case. They will be searched at many checkpoints in the building itself. The court hearings will begin every day at 12:30 p.m.
None of the meetings will be televised, but they will be recorded for archival purposes. The recordings will not be available to the general public. The videos are illegal in French courts and have only been allowed in a few cases of historical significance.
Trials have been recorded in the past against Nazi officials, Rwandan officials involved in the Rwandan genocide, and figures linked to the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. The last record was made last year during the trial of the January 2015 attacks in Paris against the Charlie Hebdo editorial office and the Jewish supermarket in Paris. The present case will be the 13th to be recorded.
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