Surviving Paris attack suspect apologises to victims

Sole surviving member of the 2015 Paris attacks has asked for forgiveness

This sketch made on April 13 at the 'Palais de Justice' courthouse in Paris shows co-defendant Salah Abdeslam during the trial of the Paris and Saint-Denis attacks that took place in 2015. AFP
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An ISIS militant who took part in the terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in 2015 has apologised to the victims.

Salah Abdeslam is thought to be the sole surviving member of the group behind the co-ordinated shootings and bombings.

He asked for forgiveness when he appeared in court on Friday, French media has reported.

Investigators believe Abdeslam was part of the squad that assaulted six restaurants and bars, the Bataclan concert hall and the national football stadium.

Among the 20 defendants, he is the only one directly accused of murder, attempted murder and hostage taking. He has denied the charges and is standing trial before a panel of judges.

“I want to present my condolences and my apologies to all the victims,” Abdeslam, 32, told the court in his final testimony, according to the website of radio station France Inter.

It said Abdeslam cried as he addressed survivors of the attacks in the courtroom.

“I ask you to hate me with moderation ... I ask you to forgive me. It will not heal you, but I know that good words can help, and if this helps even only one of the victims, it will be a victory for me,” France Inter quoted him as saying.

This court-sketch made on April 14, 2022, shows co-defendant Salah Abdeslam during the trial of November 13, 2015 Paris and Saint-Denis attacks, taking place in a temporary courtroom set up at the "Palais de Justice" courthouse in Paris. AFP

A French citizen of Moroccan origin, Abdeslam told the court in February he had backed out of detonating his explosive vest.

French media reported that during hearings this week he said he had decided not to do it “out of humanity”.

He has also said in earlier hearings that he did not know of the attack plot from the outset and that he bore no responsibility for the 130 deaths on the night of November 13, 2015.

Prosecutors allege that Abdeslam, a self-proclaimed ISIS militant, made journeys across Europe in cars he hired to collect several of the would-be attackers who had returned from Syria.

Updated: April 16, 2022, 6:53 PM