(New York, N.Y.) — In a Paris courtroom this week, French prosecutors announced their intention to seek the maximum penalty available in the trial of Salah Abdeslam Abdeslam faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole for his role in the November 2015 Paris attacks which killed 130 people and wounded 350 others. ISIS claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks. Abdeslam has been charged with participating in and attempting murder in a terrorist context as well as being active in a terrorist organization. He is the only surviving attacker.
Following the 2015 attacks, a rented vehicle under Abdeslam’s name was found near the scene of the carnage at Paris’s Bataclan concert hall where gunmen randomly fired on concertgoers with automatic weapons. Abdeslam is personally implicated in attacks at a sports stadium just north of Paris where, as he revealed to Belgian investigators in March 2016, he had planned to detonate a suicide bomb but purportedly changed his mind. In 2018, a Belgian court sentenced Abdeslam to 20 years in prison for attempted murder in relation to a March 2016 shootout with police days before his arrest.
When asked to identify himself before a French court in September 2021, Abdeslam recited the Islamic declaration of faith that Allah is God and Mohammad is his servant. He further told the court he gave up his day job “to become an Islamic State soldier.” In reference to his motivations for the attack, Abdeslam told the court that the deaths of the attack victims were “nothing personal,” and that the killings were a response to French airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.
To read CEP’s resource Salah Abdeslam, please click here.
To read CEP’s resource France: Extremism & Terrorism, please click here.