IThey never left us. The dead hovered over the duration of the November 13 attacks. They were there, in the misty eyes of their loved ones crouching on the benches, in the macabre stories of the attacks, in them of the impossible afterlife. The names of some of them resounded in the courtroom on Monday, May 23, when the floor was given to the lawyers for the civil party. We’re talking about Marion, who turns 25 forever. Estelle, whose first name means “star”; a star that has stopped shining at Bataclan. There are also Christopher, Thibault, Charlotte, Émilie, Stéphane, Fabrice, Matthieu, Lola … Before each day of litigation begins, the lawyers will thus mention the names of the victims of the attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis, as 130 dead. To make them live again. Keep them alive forever.
Before then, it’s up to Mand Frédérique Giffard was given the task of presenting the collective work that has been initiated before the court. Of the 327 civil party attorneys, only about 150 will speak, and about 90 black robes will speak in coordinated pleadings. Therefore, it is a choreography to tell in a few minutes the infinite diversity of the victims and the links that unite them. The lawyers therefore got up in shifts to stand in front of the bar and play the whole score. It’s M.and Sylvie Topaloff, who was in charge of introducing the first theme entitled “The Victims to the Accused”. And the lawyer, who hardly missed a hearing day, asked this almost philosophical question: “What happened to us? »
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Why did this vengeful rage fall upon the joy of common carelessness? How were the terrorists able to execute 130 people at close range when they saw their innocent faces in front of them? meant no harm, loved the world and its wonders. Share a drink on the terrace, watch a football match. They were hit. And we all staggered. »
At the origin of evil
They are several, Mand Topaloff included having reconsidered the germ of deadly ideology. “If we have learned one thing, it is that those who are in the box, those who came with them, are neither crazy nor marginalized, have not experienced family dramas,” the lawyer emphasizes. “I was missing nothing,” Mohamed Abrini said. “I had a happy childhood,” Salah Abdeslam said. There is this video that remains etched in the lawyer’s memory. That with Abdelhamid Abaaoud smilingly pulling lifeless corpses behind his pick-up in Syria.
“It is this terrible cruelty we share in Molenbeek. But how did the friendship not crumble on this inhumanity?” Launches Mand Topaloff. Mand Reinhart, representing the Association of Victims 13Onze15, Fraternité et Vérité, also asks this question, the only thing worthwhile in his eyes: “How did men who were once children change, kill and take part in killing people? ? with whom they could have spoken? He replies with this verse from Baudelaire, realizing that the answer is almost as dizzying as the question itself: “My dear brothers, never forget that the devil’s finest trick is to convince you that he ‘does not exist’. »
“Outbreak of Evil”
“The calm of a November evening was hit by a flurry of evil,” continues the lawyer, who himself lost one of his nephews in the attacks. He has tried hundreds of times to understand the “incomprehensible” to come to this conclusion: the terrorists want only one thing, that calm is broken, that we lose orientation, that we never feel safe. “Make no mistake. Identify this evil. Because we are facing a murderous Salafist ideology. This ideology calls for mass murder,” says Mand Samia Maktouf.
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Each calls for the right not to consider the facts through the simple prism of the “banality of evil.” To understand this journey “to the end of evil”, the lawyers invoke without quoting the concept of radicalization of Islam, one of the interpretations of the jihadist phenomenon. “Everyone comes from a local and family environment where fundamentalism always precedes radicalization. Their perceived religion not only has a spiritual point of view, it is also a political ideal that lifts you up to the level of sharia ”, Mr.and Topaloff.
They held hands in complicity.
Despite collected pleadings – time constraints oblige – lawyers sometimes strayed from the themes they were to develop, getting lost in the bays of complex thoughts and in issues that sometimes went beyond the trial. many quotes. Of those who chose to speak together, they agree on this point: the majority of the defendants would not have changed during the hearing.
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“We were entitled to a word that is more or less the same in this audience: I am not a radical, just a Muslim, I must help my people who are oppressed, I joined a community for humanitarian reasons […]we remain in ideological support with I did nothing, I could not do otherwise Where you can not understand us. It is for those who speak. For there are also those who are silent. When we sought repentance, repentance, expressed remorse, we had only one defense system. Nobody really broke the armor, ”insisted Mand Gerard Chemla. “They held hands in complicity,” flourished Mand Sebban, repeating the words of his colleague Chemla. Trials, which are probably only in the beginning, so many the lawyers have to rely on, and so much is the exercise, it must be said, cumbersome.