Salah Abdeslam on Trial

Salah Abdeslam is the only surviving member of the core group of mujahideen who carried out the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris in November of 2015, including the horrific slaughter at the Bataclan café. Mr. Abdeslam is currently on trial in Paris, a proceeding that is expected to last until May of next year.

Many thanks to Gary Fouse for translating this article from France24:

At the November 13 attacks trial, Salah Abdeslam describes himself as a “calm” child

On Tuesday, the special criminal court in Paris began questioning the principal defendant in the attacks of November 13, Salah Abdeslam, on the course of his life before the attacks.

After (experiencing) the horror with the testimony of survivors and relatives of the victims, the special criminal court of Paris entered a new phase on Tuesday, November 2 with the personal questioning of the 14 defendants present at the trial of the November 13, 2015 attacks.

Following in part an “alphabetical order”, the court began the sequence at the start of the afternoon with the questioning of Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the Islamic State commandos who caused 130 deaths and hundreds of injured in Paris and St-Denis on November 13, 2015.

The childhood of Abdeslam

Appearing in a grey vest, light shirt, with short-cropped hair and a black beard, Salah Abdeslam first stated his date and place of birth as 15 September 1989 in Brussels. The son of Moroccan immigrants, he then stated that he had but one nationality, French nationality, his parents having lived in France before moving to Belgium.

“I am the fourth of five siblings. I have three older brothers, a younger sister. What do you want to know?” continued Salah Abdeslam in a calm voice tinged with a light Belgian accent, his hands folded together in front of him in the dock. Asked to talk about his childhood, he described it as “very simple”, added that he was “a calm, nice person.”

The court then quickly went on to his school record — Salah Abdeslam presenting himself as a “good student”— and his first professional experiences. Then it focused on his criminal record before examining the conditions of detention since his arrest in Belgium in March 2016 after four months on the run.

After Salah Abdeslam, three other defendants would be questioned during the day: his childhood friend, Mohamed Abrini, “the man with the hat” in the Brussels attacks, Farid Kharkhach, and Yassine Atar.

Since the opening of the trial on September 8, the principal defendant spectacularly broke with the almost total silence he had observed since his arrest in this case, justifying several times the worst attacks committed on French soil.