“My task was to go to a cafe in the 18th Paris arrondissement,” the main suspect in the trial over the attack testified on Wednesday. “When I got there, I ordered a drink, looked at the people around me and decided, No, I’m not going to do that,” Abdeslam said. It has previously been suggested that his bomb belt would not work.
The confession of the suspect sounded “like lightning in the courtroom”, according to the French newspaper Le Monde. Abdeslam has so far remained largely silent during a trial that began in September last year.
During his testimony, he also said that he was aware of the plans only two days before the attack. It happened in Charleroi, Belgium, where he was informed by the organizer of the attack, Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Abdeslam said he was “shocked” but was confident he would participate. He had previously thought he would be sent to Syria.
On Wednesday, co-indictee Mohamed Abrini said Abdeslama was turned upside down by the organizer of the attack when it turned out he had not taken to the air. After the attack, Abdeslam was asked why he did not use a lighter or cigarette to detonate his belt. According to Abrini, Abdeslam did not dare to commit the attack.
130 people were killed in the attacks in Paris. 20 people are on trial, of whom only Abdeslam was directly involved in the attacks. Others helped him or other attackers, for example, by shelter or driving a car.