a lawyer explains why he is defending one of the suspects


It is a moment awaited for a very long time by hundreds of victims: the trial of the attacks of November 13 opens Wednesday at the Court of Assizes specially composed of Paris, in a room built for the occasion within the historic courthouse in the capital. Twenty defendants will be tried and fourteen of them will be present, including Salah Abdeslam, the only living member of the commandos. All will have to answer for their role in the preparation of these attacks. Me Xavier Nogueras defends one of them. If the lawyer has already defended many people in terrorism trials, he entrusts Europe 1 with the specificity of such a judicial moment.

“Human beings before being lawyers”

“You may have the experience of trials in terrorism, the experience of the matter, the experience of the association of terrorist criminals, you are not prepared for this emotional component”, explains from the outset Me Xavier Nogueras. “Above all, there are 1,800 victims (civil parties, editor’s note), that is to say that we are human beings before being lawyers. We are going to listen to these stories which are heartbreaking stories”, anticipates t he before the trial.

At the time of the opening of this trial, which should last until May 2022, Me Xavier Nogueras will have already studied the documents of this sprawling file at length. “Often, I said to myself ‘stop, stop’. Emotion takes over. When you read a file, inevitably, after a given moment, you come across photos that are abominable” of the dramas that occurred that night there in Paris and Saint-Denis.

For him, “no more defender, no more trial”

It is there, however, that the lawyer reveals himself and sees things differently, confides the council: “You are taken back, afterwards, by a kind of conviction that you have pegged to the body. In reality, you have a real function Being in these procedures, I have always considered that I was an actor in the fight against terrorism, in the sense that to fight effectively against terrorism, our foundations must not shake. they don’t tremble, everyone has to have their role and my role is to defend. And if there is no longer a defender, there are no more trials.”

Hence the interest, in the eyes of Mr. Xavier Nogueras, “to explain what the role of the lawyer is, what a trial of this nature is, to understand how our judicial system works”, enumerates- he. And to unfold the method to be applied for this river trial. “There are nine months to decide whether or not they participated in an offense related to a terrorist activity. We will analyze the charges to find out if they can be transformed into evidence. That means analyzing the minutes, resume the work of the police, question the investigators, confront the individuals with each other, see if these elements hold or do not hold, analyze the personality of the individual, try to understand his family environment. huge.”

One objective, “understanding our democracy”

During this trial, Me Xavier Nogueras will aim to “get the person you have behind you to speak so that they can provide answers themselves”, he summarizes. Certainly, “as this trial approaches, given the absolute horror of these murders for these families, I can understand that emotion takes over and that we have somewhat hasty reactions to the lawyers and their profession”, confides the defense. “But it is an absolute opportunity to be able to understand our democracy, our system and our Republic. And we must be interested in this procedure.”

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