The hearing resumes at 12:30 p.m. It ended Friday afternoon with the sentences demanded against the twenty men tried for nine months for their participation in the attacks which left 130 dead in Paris and Saint-Denis.
For the lawyers of the fourteen defendants appearing before the court – six others, including five senior executives of the jihadist group Islamic State presumed dead in Syria, are tried in their absence -, it is time to respond to the arguments of the charge. And the last chance to convince the court.
Olivia Ronen and Martin Vettes, lawyers for the only surviving member of the commandos, Salah Abdeslam, will plead last, on June 24.
Friday, after three days of a three-vote indictment, the National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (Pnat) requested against their client the heaviest sanction provided for by the criminal code: incompressible life imprisonment.
This extremely rare sentence – pronounced only four times – makes the possibility of a sentence adjustment very small.
The 32-year-old Frenchman, who claimed to have “given up” to activate his explosive belt on the evening of November 13, is the only one in the box to be judged as a co-author of the jihadist attacks which “appalled” and ” flabbergasted” France. “He has the blood of all the victims on his hands,” said the Pnat.
For the prosecution, which was not moved by Salah Abdeslam’s tears or apologies during his last interrogation, the main accused adopted throughout the trial “a strategy of constant minimization of the facts” and is shown “unable to express any remorse”.
The irreducible life sentence was also requested against Osama Atar, “mastermind” of the attacks piloted by the Islamic State from Syria, presumed dead in 2017.
– “As I blame myself” –
Against the “accomplices” of the attacks, all members of the same jihadist cell whose commandos were “interchangeable”, the Pnat also demanded life imprisonment, asking that the security period be modeled according to their degree of involvement.
Thirty years of security were thus claimed against the Swede Osama Krayem and the Tunisian Sofien Ayari, two “seasoned fighters” of the Islamic State who, according to the accusation, were to carry out an attack at Amsterdam airport that same day. November 13, 2015 and who turned back because of an “unforeseen event”.
The Pnat requested life imprisonment with 22 years of security against two key men, the “logistician” Mohamed Bakkali, “central piece” of the cell, and Mohamed Abrini, “the man in the hat” of the Brussels attacks who was also “planned” in Paris but who gave up. The defense of the latter will plead on June 23.
Penalties ranging from five years’ imprisonment to sixteen years’ imprisonment have also been requested against several defendants involved to varying degrees in the assistance provided to the cell.
Lawyers Marie Dosé and Judith Lévy will be the first to stand up on Monday in defense of one of them, Ali Oulkadi, tried for having helped Salah Abdeslam at the start of his run and not having denounced him.
“If you knew how angry I am,” he said in a trembling voice to the victims during his last interrogation. Before that, he had arrested Salah Abdeslam, accusing him of having “wasted” his life.
The Pnat requested the lowest sentence — 5 years — against him. The 37-year-old Frenchman, who appeared free like two other defendants, should not return to detention if this requisition was followed.
Later in the day, the floor will be given to the lawyers of Hamza Attou, tried for having traveled from Brussels with his co-defendant Mohammed Amri (his defense will plead on Tuesday) on the night of November 13 to 14, to pick up Salah Abdeslam in Paris .
The defendants will speak last on Monday, June 27, before the court retires to deliberate. The verdict is expected on June 29.