Surviving Paris Attacker Gets France's Toughest Sentence

Historic Bataclan trial ends with 20 guilty verdicts
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2022 2:02 PM CDT
Updated Jun 29, 2022 5:20 PM CDT
Biggest Trial in France's Modern History Concludes
A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan concert hall after a shooting on Nov. 13, 2015 in Paris.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

(Newser) This story has been updated with sentencing details. The biggest trial in France's modern history has concluded after nearly 10 months, with all 20 defendants found guilty of charges related to the 2015 ISIS attack on the Bataclan theater and other Paris locations that killed 130 people. Salah Abdeslam is the only surviving member of the 10-person unit that attacked the city (the other defendants provided support and planning assistance). He was found guilty of murder and attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise, among other charges. The 32-year-old was sentenced to life in prison without parole, the country's toughest sentence.

The AP notes that the full-life sentence has only been handed down four previous times in France, all in connection with crimes involving the rape and murder of children. Eighteen other men were convicted of terrorism-related charges, and one was convicted on a lesser fraud charge. They were handed sentences ranging from two years to 30 years. Those receiving 30-year sentences included Mohammed Bakkali, a Belgian-Moroccan man guilty of playing a "key role in the logistics of the attacks," the BBC reports. Swedish citizen Osama Krayem and Tunisian citizen Sofien Ayari were sentenced to 30 years for planning a separate attack at Amsterdam's airport.

Fourteen of the defendants have been in court, including Abdeslam. Another is in prison in Turkey. The remaining five are thought to have been killed in Syria or Iraq. Over the course of the trial, Abdeslam proclaimed his radicalism, sobbed, apologized, and begged judges to forgive his "mistakes." But the Guardian reports that "it was the trial’s searing accounts of personal pain and resilience from survivors and the bereaved ... that were seen as a historic lesson in the psychological impact of terrorist attacks."

(Read more Bataclan stories.)

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