The deadliest peacetime attack in France’s history killed 130 people.
The only surviving attacker from the 2015 massacre at the Bataclan theatre and other sites in Paris has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
That is the most severe sentence possible in France, and very rare.
Presiding Judge Jean-Louis Peries read the verdict in a courthouse surrounded by unprecedented security, wrapping up an exceptional, nine-month trial.
The chief suspect, Abdeslam was found guilty of murder and attempted murder in relation to a “terrorist” enterprise, among other charges.
Abdeslam had said during the trial that he had chosen at the last minute not to detonate his explosive vest. But, based on the investigations and hearings, the court ruled otherwise.
“The court considered that the explosive vest malfunctioned,” Peries said. Salah Abdeslam is “guilty of being a member of a terrorist network,” he also said.
During the trial, Abdeslam apologised to victims and pleaded with judges to forgive his “mistakes”.
For months, the packed main chamber and 12 overflow rooms in the 13th century Justice Palace heard the harrowing accounts by the victims, along with testimony from Abdeslam. The other defendants are largely accused of helping with logistics or transportation.
At least one is accused of a direct role in the deadly March 2016 attacks in Brussels, which also was claimed by ISIL.
France was changed in the wake of the attacks with authorities declared a state of emergency and armed officers now constantly patrol public spaces.
Judge Peries said at the trial’s outset that it belongs to “international and national events of this century. ”
France emerged from the state of emergency in 2017, after incorporating many of the harshest measures into law.