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Thursday August 18, 2022

Paris attacker sentenced to whole life in prison

By AFP
June 30, 2022

PARIS: The sole surviving member of an Islamic State terror cell that killed 130 people in Paris in November 2015 was handed a whole-life sentence by a French court on Wednesday, the toughest punishment possible.

Salah Abdeslam, a 32-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan origin, was captured alive by police four months after the bloodbath. The sentence was read out by the head of a five-judge panel overseeing the marathon trial of 20 men accused of involvement in the worst peace-time atrocity in modern French history.

The other 19 suspects, accused of either plotting or offering logistical support, were found guilty, with their sentences ranging from two years to life in prison. Hundreds of survivors and witnesses have attended proceedings since their start in September and they packed out the benches of the specially constructed courtroom as the verdicts were read out.

A team of 10 Islamic State jihadists laid siege to the French capital, attacking the national sports stadium, bars and the Bataclan concert hall in an assault that traumatised the country. The trial has been the biggest in modern French history, the culmination of a six-year, multi-country investigation whose findings run to more than a million pages. Abdeslam had begun his appearances by defiantly declaring himself as an "Islamic State fighter", but finished apologising to victims and asking for leniency.

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