After 10 months of trial, the special assize court of Paris found guilty on all counts 19 of the 20 defendants. Among them, Salah Abdeslam was sentenced to life imprisonment. A decision hailed by the civil parties, six and a half years after the attacks which left 132 dead in Paris and Saint-Denis.

Following the announcement of the verdict, the many victims present welcomed the court’s decision. Among them, Arthur Dénouveaux, a survivor of the Bataclan and the president of the association Life for Paris. He said of victims wanting to be in the courtroom at the time of the verdict: “It was not so much to see the defendants, but to be all together. That’s been the message for 6 years and a half. That’s why there are associations. It’s to be together because the path in the face of this horror has been to rebuild ourselves as a group and not individually”.

Victims exhausted after 10 months of historic trial

For the victims and their families, the verdict of the November 13 trial will allow them to move forward. Emmanuel, a member of the civil parties, explained: “Now everyone is going to live their post-trial. It is a heavy, but life-saving page that is being turned. And then it reassures me to know that Mr. Abdeslam, after having tried to turn off the lights of civilization, there it will be far from the lights of civilization”.

For other victims, it was time for this trial to stop and move on. Bruno, a Bataclan survivor, for his part declared: “Now I am a victim of a retired attack. I will always be branded by what I have seen, what I have experienced, but my life will not revolve around that”. For others, as for one of the victims of the Carillon, the page has not yet been turned: “It’s always difficult. The pain will always be present for my brother and for our family”. Finally, Olivier, another victim, underlined the correctness of the sentences required. “This is an extremely clear message to people tempted by radical Islamism.” The end of a long historical trial.

Paris Court of Appeal © Jeanne Accorsini

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