Salah Abdeslam: Accused Paris terror attacker apologises and asks for forgiveness

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The main defendant in the trial over the 2015 Paris attacks has apologised to victims and begged for forgiveness.

Salah Abdeslam is currently on trial for his role in the atrocity which killed 130 people.

Abdeslam, 32, is the only surviving member of the cell which targeted the city's Bataclan theatre, cafes, and the national stadium.

He claims he changed his mind to detonate his suicide vest in a cafe - but prosecutors say it malfunctioned.

While giving testimony on Friday, Abdeslam pleaded with survivors to "detest me with moderation".

He claimed the mastermind of the attacks convinced him two days before to join the team of suicide bombers and he said the following day his brother showed him the cafe in northern Paris where he was meant to detonate himself in a crowd.

"For me, it was a shock. I didn't know how to react. I showed that I wasn't ready for that," Abdeslam told the court.

"He ended up convincing me."

He recounted wearing the explosive vest on the night of 13 November, as his brother and other IS extremists spread across Paris mounting attacks.

"I enter the cafe, I order a drink," Abdeslam said.

"I was thinking. I looked at people laughing, dancing. And that's when I knew that I couldn't do it. I told myself, I'm not going to do it," he said, citing a sense of "humanity."

A police explosives expert has told the court that the suicide belt was faulty but Abdeslam testified that he disabled it.

"There are no words for this," he said.

Questioned by his lawyer about his mother, and her loss over her older son's death, Abdeslam started to cry for the first time since the trial began in September, according to French media reports.

"I offer my condolences, and I ask forgiveness for all the victims," he said.

This was met with mixed reactions in the court, with an angry outburst from the public.

He also repeatedly asked for forgiveness for three other defendants, who are on trial for helping him escape.

Georges Salines' daughter Lola was killed in the Bataclan and told France-Info Radio that the defendant "is trying to settle a munt of contradictions in his head. He's trying to resolve them, but his path will be long".

Abdeslam said he left the cafe and tried to reach friends to ask for help, taking a taxi across Paris to Montrouge, where he said he removed the detonator from his explosive vest and dumped it in a bin.

He went into hiding, first near Paris and later fleeing to Brussels with friends, where he was arrested four months later.

If convicted on murder charges, he faces life in prison, with a verdict expected on 24 June.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting