The main suspect on trial for the deadly Paris attacks in 2015 told a Paris court on Wednesday that the Islamic State network that struck the city was attacking France but it was “nothing personal”.
Believed to be the only surviving attacker in the case, Salah Abdeslam reportedly said “we attacked France, we targeted the population but it was nothing personal” as he appeared in the special courtroom built for the trial.
The 2015 Islamist attacks in Paris which left 130 dead and hundreds injured took place on the night of Friday, November 13. The network targeted bars, restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall and the Stade de France stadium in bombings.
Abdeslam blamed the French planes that bombed the Islamic State for the November 13 attack, saying: “François Hollande knew the risks he was taking in attacking the Islamic State in Syria”.
The 31-year-old suspect, one of the 14 defendants, interrupted proceedings to tell the judge he believed he and his fellow accused were being treated as if they had already been convicted.
Earlier in the trial, he also said those suspected of helping him return to Brussels after the attacks were not involved in the Paris bombing plot, after which the judge berated him for having lost time, eventually cutting off his microphone.
“Let me remind you that you had five years to explain yourself and you didn’t say anything,” Peries told Abdeslam.
Other defendants also spoke briefly, some expressing “compassion” for the victims, while others declined to comment at this point.
Victims and survivors will be present throughout the nine-month trial, and some have already made comments.
“I’m going to testify, I’m waiting to be able to answer him, tell him what my November 13th was like, to see people die on me. I will tell him at the stand, I will not take my eyes off him and I will. hope he won’t take his eyes off me, “said Sophie Parra, 37, a survivor of the Bataclan attack.
Testimonies from the victims are scheduled to begin on September 28. The questioning of the defendants will begin in November, but they are not expected to testify on the night of the attacks before March 2022. The verdict is expected at the end of May next year.