Sketch of the audience made on September 9, 2021 showing Salah Abdeslam before the special assize court for the trial of the November 13 attacks Benoit PEYRUCQ
The trial of the November 13 attacks will resume Tuesday before the Special Assize Court in Paris after a two-week break but remains dependent on the state of health of the main accused, Salah Abdeslam, who tested positive for Covid-19 on December 27.
The trial will resume Tuesday at 12:30 pm but should be immediately suspended, time for President Jean-Louis Périès to ensure the dismissal at least until Thursday.
“Having regard to various interpretations according to the penitentiary establishments of the duration of solitary confinement in detention in the event of a positive test for Covid, and in the state of the new information which I received subject to the conclusions of the medical expertise of Salah Abdeslam, which will take place on Monday, January 3, the debates will be able to resume normally on January 6 (…) if the new PCR test to which he will be subjected (…) turns out to be negative, “the president of the court told the parties. Assize Jean-Louis Périès, during the weekend.
Friday, Mr. Périès had mentioned the date of January 13 for the resumption of the debates.
But, since Monday, the duration of isolation has changed in the event of a positive Covid test.
“If Salah Abdeslam is positive, we will wait until he becomes negative,” said a source familiar with the matter questioned Monday by AFP.
The only survivor of the jihadist commandos who killed 130 and injured hundreds in Paris and Saint-Denis in November 2015, Salah Abdeslam, who has not appeared at the hearing since November 25, has tested positive for Covid -19 December 27.
Abdeslam is being held in Fleury-Mérogis (Essonne) prison, south of Paris. Several sources of contamination have been detected there recently. In solitary confinement, however, the prisoner is not in a bubble. He can receive his lawyers and works with supervisors on a daily basis.
The special assize court has been trying since September 8 and until the end of May twenty defendants, including fourteen present at the hearing, suspected of being involved to varying degrees in the preparation of the most deadly jihadist attacks ever perpetrated in France.
The defendants were to be questioned from Tuesday. This postponement will upset the scheduling of the trial. The interrogation of Salah Abdeslam was initially scheduled for January 13 and 14.
The pandemic has already disrupted trials in France, like that of the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher attacks in 2020, which had to be interrupted for a month in the fall of 2020 after three cases of contamination among accused.
Currently, clusters have been identified in several French prisons, notably in Perpignan. At the national level, 370 contaminations were detected among the approximately 70,000 detainees and 448 among the staff (out of approximately 40,000), according to a report from the Ministry of Justice established on December 27.