Abdeslam Suspends Trial to Defend Co-Defendants
The prime suspect in the mega-trial surrounding the 2015 Paris attacks has stood up for three co-defendants. Salah Abdeslam stated that although the trio helped him, they were not aware of the plans to cause a massacre.
“They are in prison, but they have done nothing,” Abdeslam said of his co-defendants. When it was discussed which victims’ representatives could speak, Abdeslam asked if “the victims of Syria and Iraq” could also talk. He then accused the court of bias.
The presiding judge then decided to turn off the suspect’s microphone and adjourn the hearing. “You have had five years to react, which you have not,” replied the chairman. “I understand you want to do that now, but now is not the time.”
Abdeslam was present at the start of the trial on Wednesday, where he acted provocatively. He stated that he was an “Islamic State soldier” when asked about his profession. He later complained that suspects were treated “like dogs”.
Abdeslam, 31, was part of a group of attackers who killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015. He later threw away his suicide vest and was able to flee to Belgium. The police arrested him there in 2016.
The trial is expected to last 9 months. The verdict is expected at the end of May. With a file of nearly a million pages, 330 lawyers and 300 victims being heard, the case is the largest in modern French history.