A court in Paris sentenced the 20 defendants in the macro-trial for the November 13th 2015 attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis to between two and three years imprisonment, with no reduction. They can appeal the sentence.
Five of the five defendants were involved in the attacks to greater or lesser degrees. The Prosecutor’s Office requested sentences between five and five years imprisonment. A Paris court sentenced Salah Abdeslam to life imprisonment without any possibility of sentence reduction. He was the only survivor among the terrorist commandos that attacked on November 13, 2015. This sentence is the maximum in France, and it is seldom pronounced.
Abdeslam was convicted of murders in an organized criminal gang and in connection to a terrorist organization. The court found Abdeslam guilty of being a jihadist "co-author" in the attacks. It estimated that the "six objectives in Paris and Saint-Denis should be considered one crime scene," Jean-Louis Peries, the president of court, read the verdict.
At the start of the operation, the terrorist declared himself to be "a fighter for the Islamic State". He was part of the commandos who carried out coordinated jihadist attacks on six French points: near the Stade de France stadium, Saint-Denis; various terraces in Parisian bars, restaurants, and the Bataclan concert hall.
During the trial, the jihadist affirmed his innocence and said that he was not a murderer since he didn't kill anyone. According to him, he had retreated at the last minute and not activated his explosive belt. It was actually revealed that the explosive vest failed to work during the trial, which "seriously questions Salah Abdeslam’s statements regarding his renunciation" in the attack.
Mohamed Abrini was a commando who traveled to Paris with them before returning to Brussels in the hours before the attacks. He was sentenced to 22 years of security and life imprisonment. Six of the six accused were tried in absentia.
The macro-trial for the most serious attacks in France's history ends with the reading of its verdict. The trial, which started on September 8, 2021 has been almost ten months long. The trial was a marathon of justice with five magistrates and 14 substitutes, 542 investigation dossiers, 2,578 Civil Parties, 330 lawyers, and 141 accredited media.
The puzzle of justice is complicated and has been reconstructed by lawyers, judges, defendants, victims, their families, and judges. Six years and seven month after the attacks, many pieces are still missing and unanswered. Eight terrorists were killed in the attacks. The French Police either destroyed their explosive belts or shot them down.
Just hours before the verdict was announced, Life for Paris (one of the victims' associations) announced that it would dissolve in 2025, ten years after the attacks. The victims' association released a statement saying that the end of the process should also signify the beginning of an "after" that we all hope for, even though we don't know how. We will now try to move on from some of the attacks that shaped their lives for ever.
Marine Le Pen, far-right leader, wrote that Salah Abdeslam was sentenced to life and it is a relief for all French citizens.