the radical decision of Philippe Etchebest

AFP

Trial of the November 13 attacks: the time for the verdict after 10 months of hearing

After 10 months of hearing, place to the verdict. At the November 13 trial, the court is due to deliver its long-awaited decision on Wednesday evening on the fate of Salah Abdeslam and his co-accused, tried since September for the worst attacks ever committed in France. The reading of the deliberations could begin “from 5:00 p.m.”, announced President Jean-Louis Périès late Monday morning, before the special assize court withdrew to deliberate in a secret location after 148 days of spectators. Before that and in front of a packed room at the Paris courthouse, she had given the floor for the last time to the 14 defendants present – six others, including five senior Islamic State officials presumed dead, are being tried in their absence. “I’m not an assassin, I’m not a killer,” said the main of them, Salah Abdeslam, from the box, reiterating his “sincere” apologies to the victims. “Public opinion thinks I was on the terraces with a Kalashnikov, busy shooting people, public opinion says I was at the Bataclan. You know the truth is the opposite,” he said. to the court the only member still alive of the commandos which made 130 dead in Paris and Saint-Denis on November 13, 2015. “If you condemn me for assassins, you will commit an injustice”, struck Salah Abdeslam. – “Blood of the victims” – The prosecution demanded that he meet the heaviest penalty provided for by the penal code: life imprisonment with an incompressible security period, which makes any possibility of release minimal. The 32-year-old Frenchman adopted during the trial “a strategy of constant minimization of the facts”, revealed the three representatives of the national anti-terrorism prosecution (Pnat). But he “tried to blow up his belt” on the evening of the attacks, and “the blood of all the victims on his hands”. In a plea aimed at avoiding this “slow death penalty”, his defense recalled that the sentence had only been pronounced four times, against men recognized as “psychopaths” and convicted of crimes committed against minors. Salah Abdeslam, who argued at the hearing that he had given up using his explosive vest “out of humanity”, is “neither a psychopath nor a sociopath”, insisted one of his lawyers, Me Olivia Ronen. He is a “deserter performer”, but the sanction requested is worthy of a “military tribunal” which judges “enemies” and not “defendants”, a vilified son colleague Me Martin Vettes. Me Ronen said Wednesday morning on France info to wait with “hope and concern” for the verdict for his client and called on the court to “share things”. – For the “symbol” – Six years after a night of terror which traumatized France and after a river trial marked by the chilling stories of nearly 400 survivors or relatives at the bar – on nearly 2,600 civil parties – the lawyers of the defense warned the court against the temptation of “exceptional justice” guided by emotion. On the first day on September 8, the president had wanted “respect for the norm” to remain the “cap” of this “historic trial”, some reminded him, arguing against the penalties for “elimination”, “revenge” or for the “symbol” required according to them by the prosecution. “I ask you to make an effort, that of not letting yourself slip”, asked Me Orly Rezlan. “Justice is not a weapon of anger”, urged Me Marie Violleau, lawyer for Mohamed Abrini, “planned” for November 13 but who had given up, as he would do a few months later in Brussels. The sentences requested against the 20 defendants range from five years to life imprisonment, in particular required for the “accomplices” of the attacks, all the members of the same jihadist cell whose commandos were “interchangeable” according to the general attorneys. The irreducible life sentence was also requested against Osama Atar, “senior terror executive” of the Islamic State group and sponsor of the attacks, presumed dead in Syria. Three lawyers pleaded acquittal for their “innocent” clients. “I am not a terrorist,” repeated one of them in his last words in court on Monday. “I’m very afraid of your decision,” admitted another between sobs. “The purpose of a trial is also to understand in order to judge as well as possible and to delimit everyone’s responsibility and to ensure that (this type of attack) does not happen again. I hope that the magistrates will come to understand what happened and to apply the law as well as possible in order to have the fairest decisions,” Olivia Ronen said on Wednesday. mdh-asl-aje-nk/gvy

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