Specially built courtroom and 330 lawyers: everything you need to know about the Paris terrorist trial

Twenty people are on trial Wednesday in Paris on suspicion of involvement in a jihadist attack on November 13, 2015, the deadliest attack ever seen in peacetime in France, in which 130 were killed and hundreds injured .

A specially constructed courtroom and additional rooms where the hearings will be broadcast are ready to admit 2,000 people a day to a central Paris court for a trial of unprecedented scale that is expected to last nine months.

Here are the essential facts:

The attacks

* On the evening of November 13, 2015, Paris was affected by multiple bombings against the Bataclan music hall, six bars and restaurants and the perimeter of the Stade de France at the gates of the French capital.

* 130 people were killed – including 90 spectators at the Bataclan – and hundreds were injured.

* ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The accused

* Salah Abdeslam is the only survivor of the group suspected of having carried out the attacks. In prison since his arrest in Belgium in 2016, the Franco-Moroccan risks life imprisonment.

* Thirteen other people, 10 of whom are also in prison, will be in the courtroom, charged with crimes ranging from supplying weapons or cars to attackers to planning to participate in the attack.

* Six others, mostly Islamic State officials, will be tried in absentia for helping to organize the attacks. Several are believed to have died since.

The key dates of the trial:

* September 8: start of the trial. In the first few weeks, experts and police explain how the attacks unfolded.

* 28 Sep-Oct 29: testimonies of victims, with one week devoted to the attacks on the Stade de France and cafes, and four at the Bataclan.

* Nov. 2 Nov. 2 5: first interrogations of the accused, centered on their profile. The trial will then examine their ties to Syria and their trips to Syria, with questioning of the defendants resuming on January 4.

* February 9-22: the defendants are questioned about the preparation of the attacks, from the end of August to November 7, 2015.

* March 2-9: the accused testify on the night of the attacks and the week preceding.

* April 6-22: closing speech by the plaintiffs’ lawyers. 2-5 May: conclusions of the prosecution. May 6-23: defense speech.

* May 24 or 25: the judges deliver their verdict.

Facts of the trial:

* There are approximately 1,800 complainants and over 330 lawyers.

* The trial will be recorded for archival purposes, but will not be broadcast live.

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About Bernice Dyer

Bernice Dyer

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