Paris attacks trial disrupted after main defendant defies judge

Salah Abdeslam alleged that he and his fellow defendants were being treated as if they had already been found guilty.
Salah Abdeslam alleged that he and his fellow defendants were being treated as if they had already been found guilty.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - A judge trying suspects in a major Islamist attack in Paris that killed 130 people briefly suspended the hearing on Thursday (Sept 9) after the main defendant tried for a second consecutive day to make political points from the dock.

The judge granted suspect Salah Abdeslam the right to speak in a discussion about which victims' representatives would be allowed to participate in the trial.

Abdeslam asked whether the victims of wars in Syria and Iraq would also be invited to testify, and alleged that he and his fellow defendants were being treated as if they had already been found guilty.

He also said that some of his co-accused were not involved in the Paris attack plot, and had only helped him out of generosity because they were his friends.

The judge repeatedly admonished him that he was straying off the topic of the hearing, and eventually cut off Abdeslam's microphone, according to a Reuters reporter in the courthouse.

Abdeslam continued to talk after that, and the judge ordered a suspension of the hearing. It resumed about 25 minutes later.

Abdeslam, 31, is believed to be the only surviving member of the Islamist militant group that carried out the gun-and-bomb attacks on six restaurants and bars, the Bataclan concert hall and a sports stadium in Paris on Nov 13, 2015.

On the opening day of the trial on Wednesday, he told the court that he was a soldier of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) ultra-radical militant group, and later shouted out in the courtroom that he and his co-defendants were being treated like dogs.

Some representatives of victims and survivors of the 2015 attacks have expressed dismay that Abdeslam is using the trial as a platform to express his views.