Safety excessive in Paris as authorized proceedings towards jihadist assaults start in 2015 | World information

PARIS (Reuters) – A high-security trial of unprecedented scale begins on Wednesday to convict 20 men suspected of participating in a jihadist rampage in Paris on November 13, 2015, the deadliest attack in France in peacetime.

About 130 people were killed and hundreds injured when gunmen wearing suicide vests attacked six bars and restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall and a sports stadium, leaving deep scars on the nation’s psyche.

“That night plunged us all into horror and ugliness,” Jean-Pierre Albertini, whose 39-year-old son Stephane was killed in the Bataclan concert hall, told Reuters.

With police on high alert, the streets around the courthouse of the Palais de Justice on an island in central Paris will be closed to cars and pedestrians, with the surrounding banks of the Seine also closed.

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Those eligible to attend the hearing must pass through several checkpoints before being admitted to a purpose-built courtroom and other rooms where the hearings will be broadcast.

The trial will last nine months, with around 1,800 plaintiffs and more than 300 lawyers taking part in what Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti called an unprecedented justice marathon. The verdict is expected at the end of May.

Most of the defendants, including Salah Abdeslam, the 31-year-old French Moroccan who is believed to be the only surviving member of the alleged defendants, face life imprisonment if convicted.

The other suspects, six of whom are tried in absentia, are charged with helping to provide weapons and automobiles or organizing the attacks.

“What is important to me in the process is what other survivors have to say … (to) hear how they have done over the past six years,” said 48-year-old Jerome Barthelemy. “As for the defendants, I don’t even expect them to speak.”

Barthelemy, a survivor of the attack on the Bataclan, said he was fine now, but had suffered from depression and anxiety.

Responsibility for the killings has been assumed by the Islamic State, which urged its supporters to attack France for its involvement in the fight against the group in Iraq and Syria.

(Reporting by Ingrid Melander, Michaela Cabrera, Anthony Paone; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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