当天晚上 13 十一月 2015, 关于 1,500 concertgoers were watching the California rock band Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan theatre in central 巴黎. At the beginning it was “a great show”, fans reported afterwards. Youngsters were dancing in the pit in front of the stage and on the balcony; some were buying drinks at the bar.
在周五, 首次, a French court heard audio recordings and saw photographs of what happened next. There was silence as the court was played three sound recordings from the Bataclan attack, one of a series of bombings and shootings across Paris that killed 130 people and injured more than 300.
The first recording was of the moment three gunmen carrying automatic rifles, their faces covered, entered the venue as the band was playing the song Kiss the Devil and a guitar solo was under way. The terrorists had shot at the doorman and people smoking outside, walked inside the concert hall and paused. Then the massacre began.
The music dwindled to a few guitar riffs as volley after volley of shots rang out followed by an interminable series of single shots. There was the sound of confusion but surprisingly few screams. The second was a largely inaudible recording of the hostage taking, including the voice of one of those who survived. The third was of the police raid that brought the siege to an end.
“Raise your arms … Go, go, go, run,” a police officer was heard shouting.
“Do we have the hostages here?” asks another. “是的, they’ve gone out.” At the end, a woman’s desperate cry was briefly heard before the recording was cut.
The lead judge, Jean-Louis Périès, said there would be a pause before the photographs were displayed on large screens throughout the courtroom to allow those who did not want to see them to leave. From the packed rows of “civil parties” – survivors and the victims’ relatives and friends – about 20 people stood up and walked out.
What followed were just a few images from the hundreds police took of the scenes of horror inside the Bataclan that night: bodies lying where they had fallen in pools of blood; a black handbag dropped in the middle of an otherwise empty but bloodstained floor; a trainer; a red pullover; a white shirt. There were bodies by the stage, bodies on the balcony, next to the bar, bodies in the corridors. They were just some of the 90 ordinary men and women who had gone to the Bataclan to enjoy an evening of music but were mown down by Foued Mohamed-Aggad, 23, Ismaël Omar Mostefaï, 29; and Samy Amimour, 28.
As the judge scrolled through photograph after photograph, he described each scene in a solemn voice. “Here we see bodies,“ 他说. “Here is the scene from another angle. Again we see numerous bodies … In this one we can see a lot of blood.”
The silence on the 104th day of the trial in the specially constructed secure court, where the lights had been dimmed, was punctuated by sniffs. At the back of the court, on the rows of benches where the victims’ families, friends and survivors sat, many bowed their heads and wept. In the dock there was little reaction, although one of the accused men, Farid Kharkach, sat with his head lowered and his hands over his ears. Kharkach is accused of supplying false documents to the terrorists.
The official tapes recording the trial were turned off and the judge warned that anyone who broadcast the recordings or photographs outside the hearing could face legal charges.
In the dock, the main suspect, Salah Abdeslam, accused of being a member of a group of jihadists who carried out the coordinated bombings and shootings across the French capital, appeared impassive.
The 32-year-old is suspected of planning to blow himself up in a suicide attack in Paris’s northern 18th arrondissement. Police found an explosive vest they believe to have been his in a rubbish bin. 一个 expert suggested it was faulty, throwing doubt on Abdeslam’s claims that he had changed his mind about the suicide attack at the last moment.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, which began at about 9pm with the detonation of a suicide bomb at the Stade de 法国 stadium and continued with drive-by shootings and bombings at busy cafes and restaurants in the capital, and the massacre at the Bataclan.
The marathon legal process, which began last September and is expected to last nine months, is the biggest ever criminal trial in France. Fourteen suspects, including Abdeslam, are in the dock and another six people are being tried in their absence, five of them presumed dead in Iraq or Syria. The sixth is in prison in Turkey.
Jean-Marc Delas, the lawyer representing the Life for Paris association for the victims of the 13 November attacks, said he hoped that showing the recordings and photographs, which he described as a “confrontation with the atrocities”, would help establish the truth of what happened. He said counsellors were on hand to help people traumatised by the evidence.
Outside the court, Arthur Dénouveaux, who survived the Bataclan attack and is the president of Life for Paris, said he had requested that the sound and images be played to the court. “I cannot see how the court can give a verdict without having heard and seen what happened. It was just 20 minutes in months of hearings, but it explains why we are here.”
他加了: “We also needed to hear the terrorists die at the end to show and know that in the end, it is the law that is the strongest.”
Dénouveaux acknowledged that the experience was especially traumatic for the families of those killed. “Each sound they heard, each photo they saw, they imagined it was the voice or the picture of their child that died,“ 他说.