Paris terror attack trial ‘to resume after suspect recovers from Covid’

Paris terror attack trial ‘to resume after suspect recovers from Covid’
Trial – said to be biggest in French history – was paused earlier this month

The trial of a man suspected of being involved in the killing of 130 people in the Paris terror attacks will resume on Tuesday now he has recovered from Covid, French media reports.

Salah Abdeslam, 32, is the main suspect in attacks carried out on the Bataclan concert hall, the Stade de France stadium, as well as bars and restaurants in the centre of the French capital.

The Belgian-born French national is believed to be the only survivor of the terrorist cell that detonated bombs and fired guns at people on the night of 13 November 2015.

Nine men directly involved in the atrocity either killed themselves or were killed by police.

Twenty men on trial are largely accused of helping with logistics or transportation. Six of them are being tried in absentia, as five are reportedly presumed dead and the whereabouts of the sixth is unknown.

Abdeslam’s trial – said to be the biggest in French history – started in September in a specially designed courtroom at the historical Palace of Justice in Paris.

It was paused earlier this month after he contracted Covid while in prison, where he has been held in solitary confinement under constant CCTV surveillance.

The suspect “is in a position (…) to attend the hearing by the criminal court” according to a medical expertise seen by French public TV channel France Television.

Abdeslam is alleged to have provided logistical support for the attackers, by driving them to the targeted locations, hiring accommodation and vehicles, and having some involvement in the making of the explosives that killed more than 100 people and injured almost 700.

He is also accused of having ditched a malfunctioning suicide vest on the night of the attacks, and then fleeing to a hideout in Brussels.

Before his arrest, his evasion of the authorities sparked one of the largest manhunts in modern-day Europe.

His name and photo was listed first in Europol’s list of 57 wanted criminals that was published in January 2016, which described him as “very dangerous and armed”.

Abdeslam was apprehended in March 2016 following a shootout with police in the Molenbeek area of Brussels.

In 2018, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the attempted murder of police officers.

Prior to the attacks, he was under surveillance by the authorities on suspicion of having been involved in terrorism-related activities.