The Bataclan Trial Salah Abdeslam and the Banality of Terror

The only surviving attacker from the terror commando that descended on Paris on the night of Nov. 13, 2015, is currently on trial. The young man used to like going out, drinking alcohol and smoking joints. What happened?
By Britta Sandberg in Paris
The shattered window of the restaurant La Belle Équipe after the Nov. 14, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris

The shattered window of the restaurant La Belle Équipe after the Nov. 14, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris

Foto: Elyxandro Cegarra / Anadolu / Getty Images
A courtroom illustration of Abdeslam from Le Monde: "I was a quiet, nice child who obeyed his parents.”

A courtroom illustration of Abdeslam from Le Monde: "I was a quiet, nice child who obeyed his parents.”

Foto:

Ivan Brun / Le Monde

The arrest of Salah Abdeslam on March 18, 2016, in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels

The arrest of Salah Abdeslam on March 18, 2016, in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels

Foto: AP
"We knew that there were operations being prepared, individuals who mixed with the flow of refugees. We knew all that. Unfortunately, we did not have the information that would have been decisive in preventing the attacks."

François Hollande, French president from 2012 to 2017

"Salah isn’t like them. For me, he’s just a poor guy playing a role that wasn’t made for him."

Osama Krayem, an Islamic State fighter who is accused of having helped organize the attacks in Paris

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Nadia Mondeguer in her Paris apartment

Nadia Mondeguer in her Paris apartment

Foto: Julien Daniel / DER SPIEGEL
"Everything that Salah Abdeslam says is so inane. It is based in nothing. The longer I listen to him, the more the hate fades and gives way to contempt."

Nadia Mondeguer, mother of Lamia, who was killed in the café Belle Équipe.

"I was born in Belgium and went to a public school. I lived as I was taught here in the West."

Salah Abdeslam, the main defendant

Gérard Chemla is representing 140 victims of the attack in the Paris trial.

Gérard Chemla is representing 140 victims of the attack in the Paris trial.

Foto: Julien Daniel / DER SPIEGEL
"I am convinced that on Nov. 13, we only experienced half of the attacks that they had planned for us."

Gérard Chemla, lawyer for attack victims