Salah Abdeslam’s lawyers explain why he won’t appeal

Salah Abdeslam, sentenced to incompressible life imprisonment, did not appeal. Invited to the BFMTV set on Tuesday, his lawyers once again expressed their disappointment with a verdict they consider too harsh.

He had the possibility to appeal until Monday evening, midnight, but in the end did not do so. The lawyers of Salah Abdeslam, sentenced to incompressible life imprisonment at the end of the November 13 trial, announced in a statement on Tuesday morning that their client, like all the other defendants, would not appeal the verdict.

“We have an option, once we are sentenced by the Court of Assizes. It is ten days of reflection to find out if we want a new trial, or if the sanction does not suit us, but we is resigned to it. This is what happened to Salah Abdeslam”, comments Me Olivia Ronen, guest with Me Martin Vettes on the set of BFMTV this Tuesday.

If the lawyers refuse to comment on the state of mind of their client after the final closure of the file, they say that they are now keen to monitor the conditions of detention of Salah Abdeslam. “Here too, I know that we are touching on a sensitive subject. It is our role to ensure that all our rules are properly applied.”

“There was a good legal battle to fight”

Asked about their reaction after their client’s refusal to appeal, the two lawyers do not hide having been disappointed, considering that the sentence suffered by Salah Abdeslam was too heavy in view of the alleged facts. The incompressible security sentence had in fact only been awarded four times in France previously, only for the murders of children accompanied by torture or rape, as was the case for the serial killer Michel Fourniret.

“This sentence was only given to people who had a typical psychopathic course, who were considered dangerous, who had raped, killed”, describes Me Olivia Ronen.

Unlike, she underlines, Salah Abdeslam, whom psychiatric experts have not described as being a “psychopath”, as “dangerous”. “We have a sentence disconnected from everything we have heard”, she concludes, denouncing a “purely symbolic” verdict.

“We are not here to make the decisions for him, it is up to him to make that choice. Even if we were ready to appeal – there was a great legal battle to be waged on the principle of irreducible perpetuity – we understand his choice”, continues his colleague, Me Martin Vettes.

Salah Abdeslam “defeated”, according to his lawyer

What the lawyers for the main defendant in this extraordinary trial regret is a verdict, according to them, that is disproportionate in relation to the real involvement of Salah Abdeslam in the attacks of November 13. “We are going to put him on the same level as the people who fired at the Bataclan”, estimates Olivia Ronen on our antenna.

“He is defeated, Salah Abdeslam. He is in our jails. This incompressibility sentence removes all hope of an exit,” she continues.

Especially since, specifies the lawyer, the defense succeeded in “dismantling” certain elements which appeared as “established truths” during the investigation, and which could not in fact be presented as certainties: “We we are here for that, to point out that the belt he was wearing was defective, but that nothing tells us that it was voluntarily activated.

“Where we can wonder is whether these debates had any real use for the pronouncement of the sentence. We have the impression that, somewhere, it was a foregone conclusion”, regrets Martin Vettes.

A “work of justice” with the victims

By definition, Salah Abdeslam will normally never be able to get out of prison. If there is a possibility of exit, this one is tiny, summarizes the lawyer. “There is a hope which is very slim and which this verdict has reduced to a trickle: after thirty years he will be able to ask first for the raising of this security period, and if this request succeeds, he will be able to ask the adjustment of his sentence. But there again, it is very complicated, and this verdict is intended to lock him up for life.

Despite everything, the lawyers insist on the need for such a trial for the victims who, they say, affected them during their depositions at the bar. “It was important that the victims could be heard in the judicial precincts,” says Martin Vettes.

“This work of justice, we did not want to do it against them, but with them. We want, at the end of this hearing, to be in a kind of appeasement”, concludes his colleague.

Original article published on

VIDEO – November 13: the sanction does not “go” to Salah Abdeslam but he “resigns himself to it”, according to his lawyer

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