20 People Convicted in 2015 Paris Terror Attack, Bataclan Massacre
Twenty men were convicted for their roles in the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, which left 130 people dead, including 90 who were attending an Eagles of Death Metal show at the Bataclan theatre, The New York Times reports.
The 10-month trial largely centered around Salah Abdeslam, whom prosecutors believed to be the sole surviving member of the Islamic State extremist cell that carried out the attack, which also targeted restaurants, bars, and the national sports stadium. Abdeslam was found guilty of all the charges against him, including murder as part of an organized terrorist gang. He was not accused of killing anyone himself (prosecutors said his suicide belt malfunctioned, but Abdeslam has claimed he changed his mind about going forward with the attack).
The other defendants were accused of intending to partake in the attack or helping the attackers to some degree, and they were all found guilty of most of the charges they faced. Of the 20 defendants, 14 appeared in court, while the last six were presumed dead or missing.
The massive trial featured testimony from hundreds of people, including several defendants, but also survivors, families of victims, expert witnesses, and even France’s then-president François Hollande. Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes and guitarist Eden Galindo testified back in May.
Hughes spoke about how the attack had changed him during his emotional testimony, saying, “I carry a nervousness in me.” But he stressed that the attackers had not taken away his love of music, “I pray today for them and for their souls, that the light of our lord shines on them,” he said. “I would like to conclude with one word from singer Ozzy Osbourne, ‘You can’t kill rock n’ roll! You can’t kill rock n’ roll!'”
The Nov. 13, 2015 attack was carried out by a team of 10 Islamic State extremists, who committed simultaneous shootings and suicide bombings. The events at the Bataclan were the deadliest of the night, with 1,500 people having gathered to watch Eagles of Death Metal. On top of the 90 people killed — a toll that included Eagles of Death Metal’s merch manager Nick Alexander — hundreds were injured at the scene.
While testifying during the trial, Galindo said that when the attack began, he thought the sound system was malfunctioning: “I remember the crowd looking at us, not understanding. We thought it was going to stop. But it kept going. They reloaded.”
He recalled escaping through a side door and being unsure if the shooters were following them. He ended up at the police station “with others there covered in blood.” He added: “Objectively, I will never be the same since that day. But we continued our tour. Today I have one daughter, I have a different life. I will never be the same again. I think of the victims every day. I pray for them.”