Paris attacks trial ends with all 20 defendants found guilty

Paris attacks trial ends with all 20 defendants found guilty
People pay tribute to victims of a terror attack in front of the Bataclan concert Hall in Paris, France, on November 13, 2016, marking the one year anniversary of a series of deadly attacks. Some 130 were killed, 90 of them at Bataclan, when Islamic militants went of the rampage in the heart of the French capital. File Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo

June 29 (UPI) -- A French court has found all 20 defendants guilty in the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks that killed 130 people and injured more than 500.

Wednesday's guilty verdicts include chief suspect Salah Abdeslam, who was convicted for "murders and attempted murder in an organized gang, in connection with a terrorist enterprise."


Abdeslam, who claimed to have "killed no one," is the lone surviving member of the 10 Islamic State attackers who fled to Brussels after refusing to blow himself up with a suicide vest. Belgian authorities arrested him there months later.

All of the defendants except for one, Farid Kharkhach, were found guilty on all counts of planning and coordinating the attacks, as well as hostage-taking and terrorist conspiracy,

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The sentences range from two years to life in prison, with Abdeslam sentenced to the harshest sentence of life in prison without parole. Kharkhach was convicted of a lesser fraud charge.

The ISIS terrorist attacks on Nov. 13, 2015, were France's deadliest attacks since WWII, killing dozens at the Bataclan concert hall and several cafes in Paris, as well as France's national stadium north of the city.


Wednesday's verdicts follow 10-months of testimony from hundreds of victims who survived the attacks in what was France's biggest criminal trial ever.

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Victims described scenes ranging from crawling over corpses at Paris's Bataclan concert hall to being held hostage by gunmen inside cafes. Families of the victims, experts and even the president of France at the time of the attacks, Francois Hollande, gave their accounts.

The coordinated attacks started with explosions outside the national sports stadium just north of Paris where Germany and France were playing a soccer match that Friday night.

Drive-by shootings and suicide bombings targeting cafes and restaurants in Paris followed, as well as a gun attack and hostage-taking during a concert inside the Bataclan music hall that killed 90 people.

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Wednesday's sentences can be appealed after a number of defendants remained silent during the trial. Prosecutors were also unable to get information on where the attackers acquired their weapons.

For the hundreds of victims who testified, and the hundreds who did not, the convictions may provide some closure for those who suffered trauma in the years after the attacks, including anxiety, fear and an inability to enjoy life, survivors and officials have said.


"I made it out alive among the dead," one survivor said. "But now I am dead among the living."

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