Specially-built courtroom and 330 lawyers: Everything you need to know about Paris terror trial

By Ingrid Melander

Twenty people go on trial in Paris on Wednesday suspected of involvement in a jihadist assault on Nov. 13, 2015, the most deadly attack ever seen in peacetime France, in which 130 were killed and hundreds injured.

A specially-built courtroom and additional rooms where the hearings will be broadcast are ready to admit 2,000 people daily at a tribunal in central Paris for a trial of unprecedented proportions that is set to last nine months.

Here are the key facts:

The Attacks

* On the evening of Nov. 13, 2015, Paris was hit by multiple gun-and-bomb attacks on the Bataclan music hall, six bars and restaurants, and the perimeter of the Stade de France sports stadium just outside the French capital.

* 130 people were killed - including 90 concertgoers in the Bataclan - and hundreds were injured.

* Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The Accused

* Salah Abdeslam is the only surviving member of the group suspected of carrying out the attacks. In jail since he was arrested in Belgium in 2016, the French-Moroccan faces life imprisonment.

* Thirteen others, 10 of whom are also in jail, will be in the courtroom, accused of crimes ranging from helping provide the attackers with weapons or cars to planning to take part in the attack.

* Six more, mostly Islamic State officials, will be judged in abstentia for helping organise the attacks. Several are thought to have died since.

Trial’s key dates:

* Sept. 8: the trial starts. In the first weeks, experts and police spell out how the attacks unfolded.

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

* Nov. 2-Nov. 5: first interrogations of the accused, focused on their profile. The trial will then look into their links with, and trips to, Syria, with interrogations of the accused resuming on Jan. 4.

* Feb. 9-22: the accused are interrogated about the preparation of the attacks, from end August to Nov. 7, 2015.

* March 2-9: the accused testify about the night of the attacks and the week leading to it.

* April 6-22: closing speeches by the plaintiffs' lawyers. May 2-5: prosecution's conclusions. May 6-23: speeches by the defence.

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

Trial facts:

* There are around 1,800 plaintiffs and more than 330 lawyers.

* The trial will be recorded for the archives, but will not be broadcast live.


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