NewsBataclan Trial: Sole surviving assassin testifies for first time...

Bataclan Trial: Sole surviving assassin testifies for first time after five years

Salah Abdeslam is the main defendant in the Bataclan trial and the sole survivor of the terrorist squad. In court he speaks for the first time and irritates.

Paris – The terrorist Salah Abdeslam had been silent for five years. Until now. At the trial, the sole survivor and main defendant of the Paris attacks, which claimed the lives of over 130 people in November 2015, testified for the first time. A survivor once described harrowing scenes from the evening at Bataclan*. The trial had previously been postponed because of a corona infection of the accused *. In court, the 32-year-old revealed an explanation for his actions that was difficult for relatives to bear.

Bataclan trial: main defendant Salah Abdeslam speaks for first time in five years

Salah Abdeslam is the first defendant to testify in court. As Der Spiegel writes, other defendants had previously always refused to testify. And the 32-year-old himself had been silent for five years about the course of events, the attacks and the background to his radicalization. At the same time, he is the only terrorist who can provide any information about the crime. An act that has shaped French politics and the view of Islam and Islamism ever since.

“It’s important for me to say today that I didn’t kill anyone and I didn’t hurt anyone.”

Salah Abdeslam, main defendant in the Bataclan trial

Five years later, the man has now spoken in court. His statement had aroused correspondingly high expectations among the relatives. All the more Abdeslam irritated with his words. “It’s important for me to say today that I didn’t kill anyone and I didn’t hurt anyone. That’s important to me because since the beginning of this thing people have been trying to slander me, to accuse me of something.”

Paris attacks: main defendant Abdeslam stresses his innocence in court

In court, Abdeslams described his view of the night and stressed that he backed away from the plan at the last moment. He said: “In the future, if someone is on the metro or on a bus with a 50kg bomb and hesitates at the last moment to detonate it and want to go into reverse, maybe they won’t do it anymore. Because he will tell himself that he will not be forgiven anyway, that he will be locked up and humiliated, just like me today.”

Is there actually a terrorist there who complains that he has been locked up in prison, Der Spiegel asked, clarifying the crucial question in the trial: Salah Abdeslam was the only terrorist who had not blown himself up with an explosive belt. Why? Consciously? Or did the attack fail due to technical problems?

After investigation: Abdeslam bomb attack failed due to technical problems?

According to Spiegel , a technical examination revealed that a small electric cable was defective – but whether it was cut manually cannot be proven, according to the investigators. Abdeslam had disposed of the belt in a rubbish bin in Montrouge, south of Paris, on the night of the crime. He then called a friend in Brussels and asked them to pick him up.

The main defendant protested in the process that he had deliberately not detonated the explosive belt. “I told myself I don’t want to do this. Those people on the café terraces, I lived like them. I was like her. I put on a shirt, put on perfume. So, going to a cafe like that and blowing yourself up…”

Bataclan Trial: Questioning lasted seven hours

The main defendant testified in court for seven hours and, according to Spiegel , calmly and politely answered the judge’s questions. The survey was described as revealing, but at the same time difficult to endure seven hours. It showed the man’s contradiction: at the age of 24 he joined the IS and its goals, while at the same time leading his Western life in Belgium. His fiancé at the time described in court how Abdeslam had said goodbye to her in tears in the last hours before the attack, which a police officer compared to a “war scene” * – to go skiing with his brother, as he is said to have told her.

According to Spiegel , the brother was also part of the IS. He prepared the attack in Belgium on his behalf. In Abdeslam’s words: “But he initially went on with his normal life. You know, it’s like a temp work company. At some point they will call you and you will receive an order.”

Double life as a “bourgeois terrorist”?

A terrorist and at the same time a peaceful citizen? This is how the 32-year-old presented himself to the judge. “The struggle of the ‘Islamic State’ is legitimate, I am for Sharia. But why should that make me a dangerous person?” he asked, even offering to meet with the bereaved and victims. He has nothing against a meeting, he said. He wants to help build it up again.

The mirror illustrated the reaction of the victims who had followed the process in the hall. Many would have got used to not expecting much from the statements of the accused. However, the confused and contradictory explanations of the 32-year-old main defendant are a new test of patience. The simplicity and banality of the perpetrators represent the greatest burden for them. The Spanish director Isaki Lacuesta has worked up the story of the relatives in his film “Un año, una noche”.

Reaction of the victims: Shocked by the banal reasons for the attack

According to the judge’s psychiatrist, Abdeslam also fits into this character description. When asked how an assassin could have presented himself in this way in court without much inner conflict, the report said: “His unwavering commitment to a totalitarian system with a deadly project has freed him from all internal debates, from every thought in the first person.”

When asked how he, as a Westerner, wanted to kill in the name of IS, Abdeslam himself only replied: “Out of fear, Madame. I was afraid of God, afraid of hell, afraid of punishment.” He wanted to help the people in Syria. (mell) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA

Picture list: © L.Urman / Starface via

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