Paris Attack Defendant Apologizes to Victims

Salah Abdeslam says he decided against suicide bombing; prosecutors say his device failed
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2022 4:36 PM CDT
Paris Terrorism Defendant Apologizes to Victims, Families
Salah Abdeslam, shown in an undated photo, is on trial in Paris.   (Belgium Federal Police via AP, File)

The victims of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed, have received an apology and a request for forgiveness. "I wish to express my condolences and offer an apology to all the victims," Salah Abdeslam said in court in Paris, the BBC reports. French officials say Abdeslam, 32, is the only ISIS terrorist remaining of the gunmen and suicide bombers who attacked cafes, restaurants, a concert hall, and a soccer stadium at the same time. He's on trial in a special court on charges of murder, attempted murder and hostage-taking, per Politico, and could be sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors say Abdeslam played a central role in the plot but didn't directly kill anyone. The defendant says that's because he changed his mind about going through with the killings; prosecutors say his suicide belt failed. A defense lawyer asked Abdeslam if he regrets his change of heart. "I don't regret it," he said. "I didn't kill these people, and I didn't die." Another defendant, Mohamed Abrini, testified that Abdeslam didn't have the nerve to carry out the attack, per the Guardian. When he arrived at a safe house the next day, Abrini said, Abdeslam was yelled at by one of the organizers for still being alive.

Abdeslam testified that he was assigned to blow himself up in a crowded bar. "I'm going into the cafe, I'm ordering a drink, I'm looking at the people around me—and I said to myself: 'No, I'm not going to do it.'" Saying this was his last chance to explain himself, the defendant told the court he remains linked to the victims of the attacks. "I would like to say today that this story of November 13 was written with the blood of the victims. It is their story, and I was part of it," he said. Speaking to the families, he said he realizes that "hatred remains" but asked that "you hate me with moderation." (More Paris terror attacks stories.)

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