Paris attacker handed harshest punishment possible in historic trial

Court finds Salah Abdeslam guilty of murder and sentences him to life in prison without parole

Feïza Ben Mohamed   | 01.07.2022
Paris attacker handed harshest punishment possible in historic trial

NICE, France 

Salah Abdeslam, the only survivor among 10 assailants who carried out coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, was sentenced this week to the harshest form of life imprisonment under French law by the Special Assize Court of Paris.

He became only the fifth person in France to receive such a sentence.

The 32-year-old Franco-Moroccan, who is not eligible for parole, received punishment Wednesday in accordance with the requisitions of the national anti-terrorist prosecutor's office.

The court, presided over by Jean-Louis Peries, found 19 of the 20 accused in the attacks guilty of all charges, including Abdeslam, the chief suspect.

Only a terrorism charge against Farid Kharkach was dropped as he forged documents for the group but was not convicted of terrorist activities, and he received a two-year prison sentence which he can serve at home.

The same terrorist cell that carried out the Paris attacks was linked to a series of terrorist attacks carried out in Brussels, Belgium in March 2016.

Mohamed Abrini, the "man in the hat" captured in CCTV footage with the assailants involved in the series of suicide bombings in Brussels, was sentenced to life in prison but with a minimum of 22 years spent behind bars.

Mohamed Bakkali, Osama Krayem and Sofien Ayari were each sentenced to 30 years in prison, two thirds of it behind bars.

Mohamed Amri was sentenced to eight years in prison, Hamza Attou to four years and Ali Oulkadi to five years, three of them suspended.

Yassine Atar received eight years in prison, two thirds of it behind bars, Farid Kharkhach was handed two years and Ali El Haddad Asufi was sentenced to 10 years, including two thirds behind bars.

Abdellah Chouaa was sentenced to four years in prison, three of which are suspended, and Adel Haddadi and Muhammad Usman each to 18 years in prison, two thirds of it behind bars.

Ahmed Dahmani, who was absent from the trial and imprisoned in Türkiye, was sentenced to 30 years, including two thirds of it behind bars, with a permanent ban from French territory.

The five believed to be dead defendants include Fabien Clain, Jean-Michel Clain, Oussama Atar, Ahmad Alkhald and Obeida Aref Dibo, who were sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia.

It should be noted that in order to justify the sentences imposed, the court considered that Salah Abdeslam was a co-perpetrator of the attacks.

The judgment of the College of Magistrates is 120 pages long.

The parties now have 10 days to appeal the decisions.

No less than 1,800 civil parties assisted by 300 lawyers were heard for this huge case, which counts 572 volumes or more than a million pages of testimonies, investigative acts and expertise.

On the night of Nov.13, 2015, 130 people were killed and 400 others wounded near the national football stadium, at several Parisian cafes and at the Bataclan music venue in a series of attacks claimed by the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group.

*Translated by James Tasamba in Kigali

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