November 2015 attacks in France: Abrini's defense calls for “a just sentence”

November 2015 attacks in France: Abrini defense demands «just sentence

UPGRADE DAY

He is “guilty”, “he assumes”, he “will be condemned” and “he knows it”. The defense of Belgian Mohamed Abrini pleaded on Thursday for a “just” sentence for the one who “never ceased to doubt” and was “able” to give up participating in the attacks of November 13, 2015 in France. /p>

The Advocates General have requested life imprisonment against Mohamed Abrini, a childhood friend of Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the commandos that killed 130 people in Paris and the suburbs.

Mohamed Abrini is “the man in a hat” identified on video surveillance at Brussels airport on the day of the March 2016 attacks, just before he abandoned his trolley of explosives and fled.

Before the special assize court in Paris in March and for the first time, the 37-year-old Belgian admitted that he was also “planned” for the attacks of November 13, 2015 – as the prosecution suspected – but that he had already backtracked.

On the night of November 12 to 13, 2015, he had hastily left the hideout in the Paris region and the 10 other men of the commandos who were preparing to sow death.

“It's not nothing to give up this moment”, insists his lawyer Marie Violleau.

We just “show him his room” and he, “he's leaving”. “They all look at him (…) He will not hold a Kalashnikov, will not put on an explosive vest, he will not shoot at random on the terraces (of Parisian bars or restaurants). On November 13, he will not kill anyone”.

Yes, the one who had “tipped over” when his brother died in Syria – a “fundamental” moment that she asks the court to “understand” – has undeniably brought “precious help to the cell”, concedes Me Violleau.

A few weeks before the attacks, the “restaurant by day, burglar by night” from Molenbeek met the coordinator of the cell and then rented cars and hideouts in the Paris region, she admits.

Mohamed Abrini will be therefore condemned for “complicity”, “he knows it”.

And yet, “knowing that his sentence will be exemplary, that it will not change much”, he is “capable” at the hearing to “dissociate from the rest of the box”, to “tell”, “to advance on the path of truth”, notes the lawyer.

A “giant step”, according to her. “Two steps back,” said the prosecution, unconvinced.

The latter called Mohamed Abrini a “coward”. “Cowardice is the most human thing,” says his Belgian lawyer, Me Stanislas Eskenazi, urging the court not to give in to “the desire for revenge”.

The “fair sentence”, pleads Me Violleau, is not life imprisonment with 22 years of security requested by the anti-terrorism prosecution but “30 years” – “with the security sentence that you want”.< /p>