Sole survivor of terror cell responsible for 2015 Paris attacks sentenced to life imprisonment

This undated image made available by Belgium Federal Police shows Salah Abdeslam, the leading suspect and the only surviving member of the nine-member attack team that terrorized Paris, on Nov. 13, 2015. (Belgium Federal Police via AP, File)
By Kristýna Čtvrtlíková
3 Min Read

The only survivor of the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, Salah Abdeslam, has been found guilty of terrorism and murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

The trial took place in a specially adapted courtroom in the historic Palace of Justice in Paris and lasted nine months. Over 2,000 plaintiffs and more than 300 lawyers had attended proceedings.

In her closing remarks, Abdeslam‘s attorney, Olivia Ronen, said her client was the only one of 10 members of a terrorist group who had not killed anyone and should not have been guilty of murder. The indictment argued that life imprisonment is just because Abdeslam’s return to society is impossible due to his “murderous ideology.”

Martin Vette, center, a defense lawyer for Salah Abdeslam, arrives at the special court on the last day of the Paris attacks trial Monday, June 27, 2022 in Paris. For Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of that night’s Islamic State attack that killed 130 people in 2015, prosecutors demanded a life sentence. 19 others are on trial for differing levels of assistance to the terrorist cell, while six are being tried in abstentia.(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the 2015 terror attacks which claimed the lives of 130 people and injured hundreds more.

Abdeslam was apprehended by authorities after 126 days on March 18, 2016, in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek.

He was the driver transporting the other attackers to the crime scene and managed the logistics of the entire operation. He was the only one of the 10-member terrorist team to survive.

The remaining nine accomplices, including Abdeslam’s brother Brahim, died on Nov. 13, 2015, after attacks in central Paris and the Bataclan music venue. They either decided to commit suicide or were shot by police.

Salah Abdeslam hid in one of the French bars but eventually threw the vest with explosives into the waste bin and fled. For the next four months, he hid in Brussels, where he had grown up.

After his arrest, investigators argued that he was also ready to kill himself at the club, but the detonation device on his vest failed. Abdeslam claimed to have backed away from his intention at the last moment.

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