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Trial of the November 13 attacks: investigators at the helm – France

The Paris Special Assize Court is due to hear on Monday one of the officials of the terrorist sub-directorate of the French judicial police, then on Tuesday the Belgian anti-terrorism judge Isabelle Panou. Sprawling, the investigations carried out in Europe and beyond have made it possible to reconstruct the preparation and progress of the attacks led by the Islamic State (IS) group, which left 130 dead and hundreds injured in Paris and Saint-Denis.

Even if questions remain, the investigators managed in four years to identify the sponsors, planners, fireworks, escorts and intermediaries of the cell, as well as their journey from Syria to Belgium then France, via the migrant route. For the first time since the start of the hearing, the court, the advocates general, the lawyers for the civil parties or the defense will be able to ask questions on the merits of the case.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, the first two days of this marathon trial stretched over nearly nine months were devoted to the appeal of the more than 1,800 civil parties already formed and the registration of hundreds of others, victims of the attacks. the deadliest ever perpetrated on French soil.

Largely silent since his arrest in March 2016, the only survivor of the commandos, Salah Abdeslam, made a thunderous entrance by multiplying the provocations. Presenting himself as a “fighter for the Islamic State”, the 31-year-old Franco-Belgian spoke up to denounce his conditions of detention, clear three of his co-defendants from customs and then ask if “the victims in Syria will be able to speak “.

“I hear today that you are going” to speak “and that is very good, but this is not the moment”, replied President Jean-Louis Périès, before cutting off the microphone.

A look back at a night of horror

Friday, the magistrate patiently listed for two hours the many witnesses called to testify, before starting, with his two first assessors Frédérique Aline and Xavière Siméoni, the reading of the report which summarizes the 547 volumes of the file. For seven hours, their story plunged the courtroom into the details of this bloody evening that traumatized France, retracing the investigation that followed and allowing to identify the profile of the 20 accused.

In the clinical terms characteristic of these reports, the president recounted the explosions of the “suicide bombers” around the Stade de France, then the slamming of the Kalashnikovs who strafed the terraces of the bistros first, the pit of the concert hall of the Bataclan. then. In heavy silence, he stated the first names, surnames and age of the victims. One near the Stade de France, 39 on the Parisian terraces, 90 at the Bataclan. “Baptiste C., 24 years old, Aurélie de P., 33 years old, Cécile M. marries Z., 31 years old” …

On the benches of the civil parties, sobs broke out, hands were shaken. In the box, the defendants kept their heads down and Salah Abdeslam remained silent.

The survivors of the attacks and the relatives of the victims will have the floor at the end of September and for five weeks to put their words on this night of horror, evoke the memory of those they have lost and describe the evils of their life afterwards.

The defendants are not expected to be questioned on the merits of the case until January. Eleven of them, including Salah Abdeslam, appear in custody. Three appear free under judicial supervision. Six others are judged by default, including the alleged sponsor of Operation Osama Atar and the French “voices” of his claim, Fabien and Jean-Michel Clain, all three presumed killed in a Western strike in Syria. In total, twelve of the 20 defendants face life imprisonment.

letelegramme Fr Trans