France court convicts 19 suspects of terrorism over 2015 Paris Attacks
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France court convicts 19 suspects of terrorism over 2015 Paris Attacks

France’s Special Court of Assizes Wednesday found 19 men guilty on various terrorism-related charges for their involvement in the November 2015 Paris Attacks, when members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) attacked various locations in Paris, including the Stade de France concert hall, killing 130 civilians and seven attackers.  The attacks were reportedly carried out in response to French airstrikes in Syria.

The lone surviving direct participant in the attacks, Salah Abdeslam, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the maximum available in France. Five other defendants were convicted and sentenced in absentia to life without parole, but they are presumed to be dead. One suspect was not convicted on charges of terrorism.

Abdeslam, who was previously sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in Belgium for attempted murder, tried to attack a Paris bar with a suicide vest. However, the court found that his vest malfunctioned, so the attack could not be carried out. Abdeslam claimed that he had a change of heart and so decided to dispose of the suicide vest, but the court rejected that explanation.

Other suspects were convicted of various charges relating to coordinating and abetting the attacks. Their sentences ranged from two years to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 22 years. Mohamed Abrini received a life sentence after the court held he helped plan the attack and drove to Paris from Brussels with Abdeslam. Farid Kharkhach, who received the lightest sentence, was not found to have been directly involved in planning the attacks, but was convicted of giving attack participants false identity documents that allowed them to travel into Europe.