Suspect in 2015 Paris attacks lashes out again in court
The main suspect on trial over his alleged role in the 2015 terror attacks in Paris has claimed that his three co-accused had no knowledge of the plot, a day after disrupting the start of the landmark trial by accusing the French authorities of treating him and his fellow suspects "like dogs".
Saleh Abdeslam intervened on the second day of court proceedings, claiming he was helped by his alleged co-conspirators but that "they knew nothing at all" about the plot behind the coordinated attacks that killed 130 French civilians – the deadliest peacetime incident in France since the Second World War.
As he proclaimed their innocence, his microphone was cut by presiding judge Jean-Louis Perrier, who then suspended the hearing.
On Tuesday, Abdeslam, 31, dressed in all-black, had lashed out at the judge.
"We should be treated like human beings. We are not dogs." he said, removing his black facemask. He continued: "Here it's lovely, there are flat screens, air conditioning but over there [prison] we are mistreated, we are like dogs".
Those remarks were met with stern rebuke by those in the courtroom, with one voice hurling an expletive at Abdeslam.
The first of the fourteen accused present in court to be addressed, he had described himself on Wednesday as a "soldier with the Islamic State" – the group that claimed the attacks.
Thursday's intervention by Abdeslam – who had previously maintained silence over the killings and refused to speak to investigators – came when the court was considering the admissibility of the complaints submitted by certain plaintiffs in the case.
"The victims from Syria and Iraq – will they be able to speak?,” asked Abdeslam, proposing that "we should be presumed innocent before being judged".
The judge dismissed Abdeslam, the sole survivor of the group of assailants involved in the attack, telling him that he had had “five years to comment” but that he chose not to.
The trial, which is expected to last nine months, is the biggest in France's modern legal history and sees 20 defendants, including Abdeslam, facing sentences of up to life in prison. Six of the suspects are being tried in absentia.