“We are treated like dogs. The trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015 opened Wednesday in Paris, six years after a night of terror that left 130 dead, due to bloodshed by the main accused, Salah Abdeslam.

The first day of hearing ended in the evening, around 8:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. Quebec time), and will resume Thursday at 12:30 p.m. (6:30 a.m. in Quebec), again with the appeal of the victims (civil parties) of this titanic case.

For long hours on Wednesday, the special assize court carried out an impressive and tedious census, in alphabetical order, of the nearly 1,800 people wishing to have their status recognized as victims of these attacks, the worst of the post-war period in France.

During the first hearing of this “extraordinary” and extremely difficult trial for the families of the victims and the survivors, Salah Abdeslam, the main defendant, made provocative remarks.

Silent throughout the investigation, Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the commandos which left 130 dead and hundreds wounded in Paris and Saint-Denis, was heard this time.

At around 5.30 p.m., after a brief suspension linked to the discomfort of one of his co-defendants, Salah Abdeslam interrupted the president of the court, Jean-Louis Périès, to launch a retribution, denouncing his conditions of detention and those of the ten other men in the box.

“We are treated like dogs. here [dans la salle d’audience]It’s very beautiful, there are flat screens, air conditioning, but over there behind… ”launched the 31-year-old Franco-Moroccan, his index finger pointed at the president.

“It’s been six years that I have been treated like a dog and I have never complained”, also declared the accused, incarcerated for more than five years in total isolation, followed 24 hours a day by video surveillance.

Before the president stops him in his turn: “Here, we are not in an ecclesiastical tribunal, we are in a democratic tribunal. “

At the opening of the audience, black t-shirt, shoulder length dark hair combed back and black beard, he paraphrased the Muslim profession of faith, declaring “that there is no god but Allah and that Mohamed is his messenger ”when asked for his identity. “We will see that later,” replied President Jean-Louis Périès, who then asked him his profession.

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He then replied that he had “given up any profession to become a fighter for the Islamic State”.

Tension palpable

Ten other defendants are also installed on the first row of the benches of the box, under the escort of many gendarmes. Three other defendants, who appear free, are seated outside the box.

Unlike Salah Abdeslam, all were content to state their identity and answer questions without commenting.

Around and inside the large room, 47 meters long and 550 seats, the tension was palpable on this first day of hearing, devoted to the appeal of the civil parties. This call will continue on Thursday, before the report is read on Friday. The first witnesses are expected to take the stand on Monday.

The victims and relatives are not very present in the room: only a hundred are seated at the back, far behind a forest of civil party lawyers’ robes.

For nine months – the largest criminal hearing ever organized in France – the court will dive back into this titanic case. It is unprecedented by its scale – 542 volumes -, by its number of civil parties – at least 1,800 -, and by its emotional charge.

The testimonies of survivors and relatives of the victims will begin on September 28, for five weeks.

“We know” that on this occasion, “it is a wave of emotion that breaks, the facts come to the surface”, said before the hearing Philippe Duperron, whose 30-year-old son was fatally injured at the Bataclan , and who will speak as president of the association of victims 13onze15.

“Dramatic intensity”

On Friday, November 13, 2015, the night of terror began at 9:16 p.m.: three suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates of the Stade de France, during a friendly soccer match between France and Germany.

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In the heart of Paris, two three-man commandos machine-gun terraces of cafes and restaurants with weapons of war and shoot at the crowd of a concert at the Bataclan, where the assault will be given shortly after midnight.

Unusually, the president of the special assize court – composed only of professional judges – wished to make an opening statement, “in all humility”.

“Today we are starting a trial described as historic, out of the ordinary,” Jean-Louis Périès told the audience. But, he warns, “what matters is also precisely the respect of the norm, the respect of the rights of each one, starting with the rights of the defense”.

“The purpose of our Assize Court is to examine the charges against each and to draw all the consequences on the penal level after having listened to each one,” he recalled. We must all keep this finality in mind in order to stay on course. “

“This trial promises to be charged with emotion, justice will however have to keep them at a distance if it does not want to lose sight of the principles which found our rule of law”, also warned before the hearing the lawyers of Salah Abdeslam.

Today we begin a trial qualified as historic, extraordinary

In the morning, under the watchful eye of the cameras, an ultra-secure convoy had left Fleury-Mérogis prison, where Salah Abdeslam has been imprisoned for more than five years.

The Special Assize Court is trying a total of 20 defendants, suspected of being involved to varying degrees in the preparation of the attacks.

Six defendants are tried by default, including the principal and jihad veteran Osama Atar, and the French “voices” of the demands of the armed group Islamic State, the brothers Fabien and Jean-Michel Clain, all three presumed dead in Syria.

Nearly a thousand members of the police are mobilized for the security of the trial, including 630 around the palace and inside, according to the Ministry of the Interior.

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