Paris attacks 2015: Historic trial of 20 suspects opens in France

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An historic trial has started in France over the 2015 Paris attacks which left 130 people dead, reports BBC.

The shooting and bombing assault by Islamist State (IS) group extremists was the worst post-World War Two atrocity in France.

The only surviving attacker, Salah Abdeslam, is in court with 13 other defendants at a purpose-built facility in Paris.

The trial is being described as the biggest in France’s modern history.

Over the next nine months, there will be over 140 days of hearings involving about 330 lawyers and 1,800 survivors and relatives of victims. About 300 witnesses will be heard, including François Hollande, French president at the time of the attacks.

Ahead of the trial, Mr Hollande told French media that this was an important moment for the victims of the attacks, which he described as an “act of war” at the time.
IS admitted carrying out the attacks on the Bataclan concert hall, a major stadium, restaurants and bars on 13 November 2015.

Philippe Duperron, who lost his son Thomas in the Bataclan attack, said there were mixed feelings about the trial, not least impatience and anxiety.

“It will be the occasion for all the victims to bear witness, so it will be a very painful moment, and bring back the pain again,” he said.

One survivor, Jérôme Barthélemy, said he wanted to hear how other victims had been coping since the attacks but didn’t expect the accused to speak.

Of the 20 suspects on trial, six are being tried in absentia. They are facing charges of murder, complicity and terrorist conspiracy.

Most of the accused, including Abdeslam, could be sentenced to life in jail if convicted.

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