Victims of Paris attacks glad Abdeslam was captured alive to face justice

Armed Belgian police apprehending a suspect in Molenbeek, Belgium, on March 18, 2016.
Armed Belgian police apprehending a suspect in Molenbeek, Belgium, on March 18, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Victims of the November attacks in Paris and their relatives have expressed relief over the arrest of top fugitive Salah Abdeslam, saying they were glad he was captured alive to face justice.

"There can be a real trial with someone who was clearly involved in the attacks," said Dr Georges Salines, head of one of the victims' groups that formed after the Nov 13 attacks that claimed 130 lives and injured hundreds.

Dr Salines' daughter was killed at the Bataclan concert hall along with 89 others attending a concert by the US group Eagles Of Death Metal.

"We're glad (Abdeslam) didn't go... to Syria to be killed by an American drone," said Ms Aurelia Gilbert, an employee of the Bataclan and a member of Dr Salines' group November 13: Fraternity And Truth.

"We are a democracy and there will be a trial," she said.


"Before, we only had underlings" facing justice, Ms Gilbert added. "Now we have someone who was there. The victims of the (cafe) terraces and their relatives will have someone to judge."

The rampage targeted a string of restaurants and cafes as well as the Bataclan and the national Stade de France stadium.

"At least there's someone alive who was prepared to follow through (on a suicide mission)," said Sylvie, who was injured outside the Stade de France. "Maybe we will finally be able to learn more about it."

Evidence suggests that Abdeslam, who is believed to have played a key logistical role in the attacks, backed out of detonating his suicide vest.

Abdeslam's brother Brahim blew himself up at a restaurant during the bloodbath.

Ms Caroline Langlade, the vice-president of another victims group, Life For Paris, said Abdeslam's trial would provide a chance "to try to understand what might be going on in the heads of these French and Belgian young people who are radicalised". She was among the concertgoers at the Bataclan on the fateful night.

French President Francois Hollande is to meet with the victims' groups on Monday (March 21), an aide said on Saturday (March 19).