French people

Paris striker Salah Abdeslam sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

The attacks, for which the Islamic State has claimed responsibility, left 130 dead and 494 injured across the French capital – in bars, restaurants, a concert hall and in front of the famous Stade de France, where a football match.

Abdeslam, 32, was convicted on all five counts he was charged with. He is only the fifth person in France sentenced to life without the possibility of parole since its legalization in 1994.

Although Abdeslam was one of 20 people tried, he was the only defendant accused of physically carrying out the deadliest attacks France had ever seen in peacetime.

The other suspects were charged with less serious crimes, such as helping to supply the attackers with weapons or cars. Six were tried in absentia.

Of the defendants, 19 were found guilty on all counts, while one – Farid Kharkhach – was found guilty on just two of the charges he faced. The other 13 defendants in the courtroom were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 2 to 30 years for their crimes.

Abdeslam did not appear to react to his conviction. Kharkhach, who received the lighter sentence, wept after hearing his verdict.

The verdicts are the culmination of a long trial that began on September 8, 2021 and involved more than 330 lawyers and around 1,800 civil parties, according to the French Ministry of Justice. The proceedings took place in a purpose-built courtroom inside the Palais de Justice in central Paris.

The trial heard testimony from first responders who described the horrors they witnessed at the Bataclan concert hall and in the city’s bars and restaurants. Survivors spoke of their despair as they tried to hide from terrorists, and family members of those killed recalled how their anxiety turned to grief upon learning of the deaths of their loved ones.
Abdeslam, who was arrested in 2016, spoke publicly for the first time at the start of the trial, defiantly declaring himself “an Islamic State soldier”, upsetting some survivors who took his remarks as a threat.
Abdeslam later apologized to the victims and claimed not to have killed anyone.

He says he chose not to detonate his explosive vest and, on the final day of hearings in the case, urged the court not to give him a harsh sentence: “I made mistakes, it is true, but I’m not a murderer, I’m not a killer,” he said.

Many survivors and the families of those who died hope to move on with their lives after the lengthy court case.

Life for Paris, the main organization of survivors and families of victims, announced on Tuesday that the organization would begin to disintegrate, finally closing on November 13, 2025, the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

“(The disbandment) is also for us a return to some form of normality, of our own free will, away from public scrutiny,” the band said in a statement.