Thu, 23 Sep 2021

PARIS, France: The trial of 20 men implicated in a jihadist attack claimed by Islamic State, which killed 130 people in Paris on 13th November, 2015, will begin on Wednesday under strict security.

The attack, the deadliest in France during peacetime, injured hundreds and was carried out by gunmen wearing suicide vests who targeted six bars and restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall and a sports stadium.

Jean-Pierre Albertini, whose son Stephane was killed in the Bataclan, told Reuters, "That night plunged us all into horror and ugliness."

During the trial, cars and pedestrians will be barred from the streets around the Palais de Justice in central Paris, and the surrounding banks of the Seine will also be off-limits, with police remaining on high alert.

Before being allowed to enter a specially-built courtroom and other rooms hosting the hearings, the trial's attendees will have to move through multiple checkpoints.

The nine-month trial, described by Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti as an unprecedented judicial marathon, will involve some 1,800 plaintiffs and more than 300 lawyers, with the verdicts expected in late May.

If convicted, most of the accused, including French-Moroccan Salah Abdeslam, 31, who is believed to be the only surviving attacker, will face life in prison.

The other suspects are accused of helping organize the attacks, as well as providing guns and cars. Six will be tried in absentia.

"What I care about during the trial is the testimony of other survivors, to hear how they have been coping over the past six years. As for the accused, I do not even expect them to speak," said survivor Jerome Barthelemy, as reported by Reuters.

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