Jun 29, 2022 - World

20 found guilty for deadly 2015 Paris attack

A makeshift memorial outside the commemorative plaque outside the Bataclan concert hall in tribute of the victims of the attack on the Bataclan
A makeshift memorial of candles and flowers in November 2017 surround the commemorative plaque outside the Bataclan in tribute of the victims of the 2015 attack on the concert venue.

Twenty people were convicted Wednesday by a French court in connection to an ISIS terrorist attack that killed 130 people and injured hundreds more across Paris in 2015.

The big picture: Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to be the only surviving member of the group that carried out the attack, was the key defendant. The nine other attackers died at the scene.

  • Abdeslam was found guilty of "murder and attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise, among other charges," AP reported.
  • Of the 20 defendants, all but one — Farid Kharkhach — were found guilty on all counts, Le Monde reported.
  • 18 other defendants were convicted on various terrorism-related charges while one was given a lesser fraud charge, per AP.
  • Abdeslam and 13 others were tried in person, while the remaining six defendants — most presumed dead — were tried in absentia.
  • The verdict comes after more than nine months of emotional testimony by survivors and witnesses in the biggest criminal trial in modern French history.

Abdeslam was sentenced to life in prison without parole, the severest sentence possible in France and one that is rarely given. This sentence had only been previously pronounced four times in France, for crimes related to rape and murder of minors, per Le Monde.

  • Another defendant, Mohamed Abrini, was handed a life sentence with 22 years as a minimum term. He had admitted to driving some of the Paris attackers to the capital and explained how he was meant to take part but backed out.
  • The overall commander of the Paris attacks, Oussama Atar, was also sentenced to life without parole. But he was tried in absentia and is presumed dead, per Le Monde.

Background: The attacks, claimed by ISIS, began shortly after 9 p.m. local time on Nov. 13, 2015, when authorities say a suicide bomber detonated explosives outside the Stade de France.

  • The bombing was followed by explosions and shootings at several Paris cafes, restaurants and bars. The deadliest shooting took place at the Bataclan concert venue, where the American rock band, Eagles of Death Metal, was performing. Ninety people there were killed.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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