Paris attacks: Salah Abdeslam guilty as historic trial ends

A court sketch shows Salah Abdeslam standing (far R) alongside the other 13 defendants in court this week

The only survivor of the group behind the November 2015 Paris attacks has been found guilty of terrorism and murder charges.

Salah Abdeslam received a rare full-life prison term for his role in the gun and bomb attacks that killed 130 people.

The court convicted all 20 men put on trial – 19 of them on terrorism charges.

The trial – the biggest in modern French history – began last September.

For more than nine months, victims, journalists, and the families of the dead lined up outside the specially-built courtroom in Paris to piece together the story of the worst attack in France since World War Two.

The attacks across bars, restaurants, the national football stadium and Bataclan music venue on 13 November 2015 saw hundreds injured alongside those killed.

Abdeslam told the court this week that he was “not a murderer, or a killer” and that to convict him of that would be “an injustice”.

He also claimed during the trial that he decided not to detonate his suicide vest on the night of the attack and disposed of it in a Paris suburb.

However, the court accepted evidence that the suicide vest was defective, and therefore it did not believe that Abdeslam had experienced a last-minute change of heart.

His full-life sentence is the most severe penalty for criminals that can be imposed under French law, with only a small chance of parole after 30 years.

It is only the fifth time it has been handed down since 1994.

Among the other defendants, six, who are believed to have died in the attacks, were tried in their absence.

The court handed down prison terms ranging from two years to Abdeslam’s full-life sentence.

Mohamed Abrini, who was accused of providing logistical support, was also sentenced by the court to a life sentence with 22 years as a minimum term.

John David

John David

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