Historic Trial Over 2015 Paris Terror Attacks Begins

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on : 08 Sep 2021 15:58
Historic Trial Over 2015 Paris Terror Attacks BeginsPA Images

An historic trial of 20 suspects charged over the November 2015 Paris terror attacks has started in France. 

The evening of November 13, 2015, saw a series of coordinated terrorist attacks take place across the French capital.


The shooting and bombing incidents took place in Paris’ northern suburb Saint-Denis, beginning with three suicide bombers striking the outside of the Stade de France, while another group of terrorists opened fire on crowded cafes and restaurants. The incident ended in a hostage situation as a third group carried out a mass shooting at a concert in the Bataclan theatre. The police ended up in a stand-off with the attackers, who were all either shot or who blew themselves up when the police raided the theatre.

The attacks were carried out by Islamist State (IS) group extremists and the only surviving attacker, Salah Abdeslam, is now in court with 13 other defendants. They are being held at a purpose-built facility in Paris.

First day of the trial of the November 2015 Paris attacks defendants at the Palais de Justice of Paris - Paris courthouse on September 8, 2021. The biggest trial in France's modern legal history begins on September 8, 2021 over the November 2015 attacks on Paris that saw 130 people killed at bars, restaurants and the Bataclan concert hall. The suicide bombing and gun assault by three teams of jihadists, planned from Syria and later claimed by the Islamic State group, was France's worst post-war atrocity. -Villette Pierrick/Avenir Pictures/ABACA/ABACA/PA ImagesPA

The trial will see 140 days of hearings involving around 330 lawyers and 1,800 survivors and relatives of victims. It will span the next nine months and is described as the biggest in France’s modern history.


François Hollande, French president at the time of the attacks, will be one of the 300 witnesses heard at the trial.

Hollande told French media ahead of the trial that the attacks were an ‘act of war’, BBC News reports.

 Thibault Camus/AP/Press Association ImagesPA

IS admitted carrying out all of the attacks at the Bataclan concert hall, Stade de France stadium and multiple restaurants and bars.


This morning, September 8, the defendants arrived at court in police vehicles under heavy security. They had face masks on as that sat together in the defendants’ box before the trial opened.


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According to reports, Abdeslam came in last out of all of the defendants. When asked to state his profession to the presiding judge, he answered that he was a ‘soldier of IS’. The 31-year-old is accused of giving logistical support to the attackers, and reportedly fled the scene of the incident, having abandoned his suicide belt. His belt was later found by investigators to have been defective. Becoming Europe’s most wanted-man, he was captured four months later in Brussels after a shootout with police.

Half of the main island in central Paris, Île de la Cité, has been sealed off by security forces for the trial. Police officers, lawyers, journalists, survivors, relatives of victims and psychological support staff are all in attendance.

The car, left, carrying Salah Abdeslam arrives at the Palace of Justice Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 in Paris. France is putting on trial 20 men accused in the Islamic State group's 2015 attacks on Paris that left 130 people dead and hundreds injured. The proceedings begin Wednesday in an enormous custom-designed chamber. Most of the defendants face the maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of complicity in the attacks. Only Abdeslam is charged with murder. -Francois Mori/AP/Press Association ImagesPA

Philippe Duperron, the father of Thomas Duperron, who was one of the victims in the Bataclan attack, told BBC News there were ‘mixed feelings’ about the trial.

He said:

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.

Six out of the 20 suspects are being tried without being present at the trials and face charges of murder, complicity and terrorist conspiracy. Most of the suspects are facing a life sentence in jail if they are convicted.


The trial will not be broadcast live, however it will be recorded for archives. Victims are due to give their testimonies towards the end of September, after the first, mostly procedural days of the trial.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677

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Topics: News, France, Now, Paris, Trial


BBC News
  1. BBC News

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