Prosecutors ask for Paris terrorist suspect Abdeslam to be locked up for life

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The prosecutors at the Paris attacks trial have completed their final review of the evidence, confirming their intimate conviction that the 20 accused are guilty as charged. The prosecution also demanded the penalties which they believe should be imposed on each of the men before the court. There were few surprises.

Salah Abdeslam on Friday took another step towards life imprisonment.

If he is found guilty later this month, and if the special criminal tribunal accepts the prosecution's opinion as presented on Friday afternoon, Abdeslam, the sole surviving member of the Paris terror squads, will be sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars, with no possibility of review for a minimum of 30 years. He is 33 years old.

Only four prisoners are held in France under the same legislation, which was drafted in the wake of the abolition of the death penalty in 1981.

Two other Paris accused were recommended for life sentences on Friday, despite the fact that neither took any direct part in the 2015 attacks.

Mystery of visit to Amsterdam airport

Osama Krayem and Sofien Ayari were in Schiphol airport near Amsterdam on 13 November 2015. The purpose of their trip remains a mystery. But the prosecution is convinced that they went to Schiphol to launch a terrorist attack in parallel to the Paris operation. For reasons which will probably never be known, the pair simply returned to Brussels.

The prosecutors believe that, because of their centrality to the Islamic State overseas effort, and for their contribution to the organisation of the Paris massacres, Krayem and Ayari should serve a minimum of 30 years each.

The fourth life sentence was called for in the case of Mohamed Abrini, the eleventh man in the so-called convoy of death.

He drove from Brussels to Paris with the other attackers and Salah Abdeslam on 12 September. According to Abrini's own testimony, he was supposed to be one of the suicide bombers. But he pulled out at the last minute and fled back to Belgium.

The prosecution believes he should spend at least 22 years behind bars.

Additional penalties for men already in jail

The same sentence of 22 years minimum has been recommended for Mohamed Bakkali, accused of organising transport and hideouts for the terrorists. He is already serving 25 years in Belgium for his part in the 2015 Thalys attack.

Ahmed Dhamani, imprisoned in Turkey on terrorist offences, was also recommended for 30 years, with a minimum of two decades before review.

A minimum of 14 years was called for in the cases of the two would-be terrorists who were arrested on their way from Syria, Algerian Adel Haddadi and the Pakistani Muhammad Usman,

For every name, a number

For each of the accused, the three prosecuting judges had a recommendation.

Ali El Haddad Asufi, 16 years: Osama Atar, 9; Mohammed Amri, 8.

And then a clutch of six-year sentences which, if upheld, would mean that Hamza Atou, Abdellah Chouaa and Farid Kharkhach could walk free at the end of the trial later this month, since each will already have served nearly six years in detention.

Finally, Ali Oulkadi, who gave Salah Abdeslam a lift when the fleeing terrorist returned to Brussels, merits a five-year sentence according to the prosecutors. If that is the court's final decision, Oulkadi, who has explained his absence to his little daughter by saying that he is "working in Paris" will be able to get a new job.

The tribunal judges are in no way obliged to follow the recommendations of the prosecutors.

The trial continues on Monday when it will be the turn of the defence teams to begin offering their version of events.

Verdicts are expected to be announced on 29 June.

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