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Men accused of harbouring 2015 Paris attackers weep as victims’ parents give evidence

Two men accused of harbouring jihadists in the aftermath of the 2015 Paris attacks were reduced to tears as grieving parents described the pain of losing their children.

The parents of victims gave evidence on Tuesday at the first trial following the attacks, which saw suicide bombings and mass shootings kill 130 people at the Bataclan concert hall, the Stade de France football stadium and bars and restaurants in the French capital.

Among those giving evidence were the relatives of the 90 people killed at the Bataclan.

This courtroom sketch created at the palais de Justice court in Paris on January 24, 2018 shows Jawad Bendaoud in the dock, accused of harbouring two of the jihadists in the aftermath of the November 2015 Paris attacks. The first trial stemming from the November 2015 Paris terror attacks opened with suspect Jawad Bendaoud in the dock, accused of harbouring two of the jihadists in the aftermath of the carnage. / AFP PHOTO / Benoit PEYRUCQ (Photo credit should read BENOIT PEYRUCQ/AFP/Getty Images)
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A courtroom sketch of Bendaoud in the dock

The suspects, Jawad Bendaoud and Mohamed Soumah, were moved to tears as one mother, whose 37-year-old son was shot seven times, spoke of her grief.

“Every time I talk about my son, the tears start flowing,” said the woman identified only as Lordanka. “My life is hard now.”

She said the two suspects – and a third defendant on trial for failing to report the attackers – deserved to be “punished severely”.

The woman said: “It’s not them who killed my son, but they more or less contributed to it.”

Bendaoud is accused of renting his flat to Abdelhamid Abaaoud – the senior Islamic State jihadist who is suspected to be the co-ordinator of the attacks – and his accomplice Chakib Akrouh.

 Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the 2015 Paris terror attacks
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Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected ringleader of the 2015 Paris terror attacks

Abaaoud, Akrouh and Abaaoud’s cousin Hasna Aitboulahcen were killed by anti-terror officers at Bendaoud’s apartment in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, five days after the attacks.

The only surviving attacker, Salah Abdeslam, is set to go on trial in Belgium on Monday.

Bendaoud famously protested his innocence in a live television interview, saying he “didn’t know they were terrorists”.

He echoed the comments on Monday as he told the court he did not know of the men’s identity. He said he would not have hosted terrorists “even for €150,000 (£132,000)”.


Rock star Sting reopens the Bataclan on November 12, the revered Paris concert hall where jihadists massacred 90 people, with a hugely symbolic show to mark the first anniversary of France's bloodiest terror attacks

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November 2016: Bataclan reopens one year after terrorists opened fire

The comments come after he complained on Friday that most men forced to stay in their cell as long as him would “cut off their testicles”. He also accused one lawyer of being “psychologically unhinged”.

A man identified as Abdallah, who lost both of his sisters in the attack, said: “What shocks me is the lack of seriousness with which Mr Bendaoud and Mr Soumah are taking this trial.”

A father called Patrick said Bendaoud was transforming the trial into a “street performance”.

“I was outraged to hear laughter during these debates,” he said. “I’m not laughing. I’m not here to see a show.”

Soumah apologised to the victims last week for his conduct but Bendaoud has not followed suit.

The trial continues.

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