Salah Abdeslam is the only surviving member of the leadership group of Islamic terrorists who carried out the deadly attacks in Paris in November of 2015, including the hideous slaughter at the Bataclan café. Mr. Abdeslam’s trial in Paris has been underway since last year, and is expected to conclude sometime next month.
In an earlier post, it was reported that Mr. Abdeslam had refused to answer questions. But now he seems to have changed his mind, to a certain extent.
November 13 trial: Initially mute, Salah Abdeslam ends up giving explanations
March 30, 2022
After deciding to exercise his “right to silence” at the start of the hearing, Salah Abdeslam, the principal defendant in the trial of the November 13 attacks, finally emerges from his silence to give some snippets of answers to the court concerning his actions during the evening of November 13, 2015.
“Mr. Abdeslam, please stand,” ordered the president of the special court, Jean-Louis Peries, in front of a full room. The plaintiffs and the press, indeed, came in numbers on Wednesday, March 30, to attend what some described as the most anticipated hearing of the trial.
Behind the glass of his cubicle, the sole surviving commando of the November 13, with short hair, wearing a black polo shirt and pants, is there to respond to the numerous questions plaguing the court since the start of the trial. But to everyone’s surprise, Salah Abdeslam initially states his desire “to make use of my right to silence”. Sounds of disappointment in the audience.
There are many gray areas concerning Salah Abdeslam’s actions on the evening of November 13. Why did he abandon his explosive vest? Why did he abandon his car in the 18th arrondissement of Paris before heading to Montrouge, in the southern suburbs, after dropping off the commando at the Stadium of France? What deadly project did he initially have?
“I insist,” resumes Jean-Louis Peries. “So do I, Mr. President. I also insist: I don’t wish to express myself today,” retorts Salah Abdeslam, standing, hands crossed in front of him. “It is a right that I have; I don’t have to justify myself on this,” he responds calmly. “I have already made efforts, I kept my silence for six years; it was the position that I wanted to adopt for this trial, but I changed my mind; I said some things, I expressed myself in regard to the victims, but I can no longer express myself, I can’t do it. I don’t have to justify myself. I don’t want to give my reasons so that nobody will again consider me a provocateur.”
“It is a dangerous position,” noted the president. “In the face of non-responses, we risk attributing what will not be favorable to you,” he warned. The questions of the president collide one by one with the silence of the accused, seated on his bench, a black mask on his face, his look fixed straight ahead.
“A thought for the victims because it is an important day for them,” continues Nicolas Le Bris, general counsel, who recalls that the plaintiffs were particularly waiting today for the answers that Salah Abdeslam had promised. Then the public minister asserts that the accused took “pleasure” in maintaining his silence. And to conclude: “This silence that he, nevertheless, brings to the hearing is nothing more than the confirmation that cowardice is the trademark of terrorists. You could have brought your answers after your pseudo-buzz. You don’t have one ounce of courage; it is really cowardice in its rawest form.”
Faced with the insistence of Attorney Josserand Schmidt, civil party attorney, who calmly asks him several series of questions, Salah Abdeslam ends by taking to the microphone to justify his silence. “To express myself or maintain silence, it serves nothing at all. I would have liked to hear this mother of six children who are dead because they lost their lives under the French bombings,” states the accused, who notes the inequality of his trial because, according to him, the French state, which dropped bombs in Syria, is not in the defendant’s dock.
Responding to Attorney Josserand-Schmidt, the defendant then explains why he cried upon seeing his companion for the last time. “My fiancée, I loved her sincerely, and I wanted to marry her. If I cried, it’s because, at that moment, she was talking about future plans, of children, of an apartment, and at that moment, I knew I was going to leave for Syria. That is what had been proposed to me. Because I had supported the Islamic State, and that I could have serious problems, and I had been told that the best for me was to go there. There, that’s what I wanted to say.”
Persevering, the lawyer then puts the question of the explosive belt that never went off. Salah Abdeslam told his accomplices in Belgium that it was defective. “Was this a lie?” asks the lawyer. Shrugging his shoulders, he answers in a small voice: “That’s it. I was ashamed, perhaps. Not perhaps,” Salah Abdeslam stammers. “I was ashamed I didn’t go all the way, I was afraid of the reaction of the others, I was 25 years old.”
For Attorney Gerard Chemla, civil party attorney, Salah Abdeslam is “teasing” with his speeches in announcing that he will speak, raising the interest on the part of the press and the victims, “only to say nothing or little more than that the Islamic State is right.” He adds, “Salah Abdeslam has put the audience in a situation of hostage-taking: There have already been many victims caused by the Islamic State at the time of the attacks. Please, at the time of judgment let us not be his victims.”
Previous posts about the trial of Salah Abdeslam:
|2021||Sep||8||The Bataclan Mujahid Goes on Trial|
|Nov||6||Salah Abdeslam on Trial|
|2022||Mar||16||Salah Abdeslam on Trial, Continued|
|30||Salah Abdeslam on Trial: The Latest