2015 Paris attacks: 'If you convict me of murder, it would be unjust'

2015 Paris attacks: 'If you convict me of murder, it would be unjust'
Depiction of Salah Abdeslam at the trial of the 2016 Paris terrorist attack. Credit: Belga

After nearly ten months, the trial of the perpetrators of the 13 November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris has on Monday. The Paris criminal court will now deliberate on the proceedings, with a verdict expected Wednesday evening.

Defendants were allowed their final words at the trial. Salah Abdeslam, who was part of the Islamic State terrorist group which killed 130 people and injured hundreds hundreds more, told the court: "I made mistakes, that's true, but I'm not a murderer, I'm not someone who kills people; if you convict me of murder, it would be unjust.”

"Public opinion thinks that I was on the terraces to shoot people or that I was in the Bataclan. You know the truth is just the opposite... I have apologized to the victims, but some will continue to say that this is insincere, or a strategy."

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Abdeslam had previously stated at the trial that he refrained from detonating his bomb during his suicide mission out of "humanity" for the potential victims, after seeing them up close.

Final words

In addition to Abdeslam, thirteen other suspects, accused of helping the Islamist hit squad, took to the stand. They expressed regret and condolences to the survivors of the attack and relatives of the victims.

Six other defendants were tried in absentia, although five are presumed dead in Syria.

France's public prosecutor has demanded sentences ranging from five years to life imprisonment for the twenty suspects on trial. Abdeslam faces spending the rest of his life behind bars, which his lawyer has said is equivalent to a "slow death penalty".

The last hearing of the trial will take place on Wednesday 29 June.

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