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Salah Abdeslam froze the audience

The survivor of the commandos of the attacks that hit Paris and Saint-Denis on November 13, 2015 came out of his silence on Wednesday and aroused the fear of the audience. The trial promises to be painful for the many civil parties.

Salah Abdeslam has not lost any of his determination. On the first day of the trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015, which opens this Wednesday, September 8 before the special assize court in Paris, the only surviving member of the commandos who killed 130 people and injured hundreds of others chilled the audience. To the first question from the president of the Assize Court about his identity, Salah Abdeslam vociferously chants: “I want to testify that there is no other god but Allah, and Mohamed is his prophet.” The first words of the 31-year-old Franco-Moroccan, with now shoulder-length hair tied back and protruding muscles, arouse fear in the courtroom. “We’ll see that later,” retorts Jean-Louis Périès, the president of the court. The names of his father and mother? They have “nothing to do here”.

Attacks of November 13: review of Salah Abdeslam’s career

Black beard, black polo shirt and equally black eyes, the accused, for any answer on his profession, then launches to the judge that he is a fighter of the Islamic State. A few words that put an end to the doubts about the state of mind of the main accused, to whom all eyes are turned. The statements of the thirteen other defendants present in the box are themselves more sober. No fiery speech, no ideological message. Just a few short, hesitant, confused answers.

>> To read also: “Attacks of November 13, 2015: the underside of an extraordinary trial”

Like this first day of trial, where everything seems too big for the titanic organization set up to function properly. The hearing began almost an hour late due to sound problems. The performers, although equipped with microphones, remain inaudible to the rest of the audience. The lawyers, called one by one to quote their clients, are repeatedly summoned by the president to speak closer to the microphone. No Wi-Fi available for journalists in the press room. No more internet radio for listeners kept at a distance. And in the room, complaints from civil party lawyers regarding the trial schedule.


A few hours earlier already, in the maze of the courthouse in Paris, the same mess of great days. Hundreds of people lost. Lawyers, plaintiffs, journalists… Everyone is looking for their way and working to find the room that has been assigned to them.

>> To read also: “Attacks of November 13, 2015: the trial, ‘capital’ stage of individual and collective mourning”

Because the game is worth the candle. The president recalled it, it is about a “historic” day. “The facts, by their dramatic intensity, are part of the national and international events of this century.” Exceptional “by the number of victims, civil parties, witnesses and experts.” “We will all have to […] maintain justice in its dignity, “recalled Jean-Louis Périès, the president of the special assize court in an introductory statement.

Then, as planned this time, he then proceeded to appeal the lawyers of some 1,800 civil parties. A long and tedious moment in appearance, but which makes perfect sense for the victims who are waiting for a real recognition of their status. “I do not expect much from this trial, explains Thierry Maillet, a rare victim who agreed to speak to a handful of journalists a few minutes before the trial. But it is important that my name be mentioned among the victims so that I be recognized as such. ” The exercise of the appeal of the names of the civil parties must continue for two days.

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