10:15 a.m., July 3, 2022, amended to 11:50 a.m., July 3, 2022
“It was a wonderful party. » Aurélie Silvestre stops, to prolong a little more the effect, in her flesh and in her heart, of the few light hours which followed the statement of the verdict of the trial of November 13, Wednesday in Paris. Nearly 250 victims, relatives of the injured or missing, civil party and defense lawyers met at the Deux Palais, a brasserie near the courthouse, on the Ile de la Cité, which has become the headquarters of these actors despite themselves. .
A share with three convicts
There were already people there, sharing glasses of champagne, plates of fries and boards, when the three convicts who remained free appeared in front of the café, as if pushed by a movement of the crowd. “They didn’t come right away, says Aurélie Silvestre, who lost her husband at the Bataclan. They were outside, leaning against the railings, a little embarrassed. »
It was then that civil parties came out on the sidewalk to talk with them, in the humidity that precedes the summer storms, before inviting them to join them inside, under the Belle Époque mirrors. From criminal memory, we had never seen that. “An old lawyer watched this scene with wide eyeslaughs the young woman. You have to have lived this long behind closed doors to understand… ”
I put them all in the same bag. But these ten months allowed me to channel my anger
A few hours earlier, the special assize court had just declared these three men guilty: Hamza Attou, 28, for having picked up Salah Abdeslam in Paris the night of the attacks; Ali Oulkadi, 27, for helping him in Brussels; and Abdellah Chouaa, 41, the oldest of the defendants, who accompanied Mohamed Abrini to the airport on his way to Syria.
Toast with them? In September, the Lyonnaise Sophie Parra, wounded by bullets at the Bataclan, would have laughed at this idea. “I put them all in the same bag. But these ten months allowed me to channel my anger. » Moreover, she was surprised to go to see them before the verdict, hoping with them for freedom when the anti-terrorist prosecution had requested their return to prison.
“They were sitting on their jump seats, in front of the dock, says master Delphine Boesel, who defends Hamza Attou. The wait was long. From time to time, a lawyer from the civil party came to get them to tell them that a particular victim or relative wanted to talk to them. »
Read also – 13-November: after the trial, the fear of emptiness
When the court declared them guilty but free, all three collapsed: relieved not to return behind bars; forever marked by a label. The emotion shook even the civil parties. “Sophie, I am free”launched Abdellah Chouaa. “It did something to me, says the thirty-something. I told him, “Enough of the bullshit now.” » Arthur Dénouveaux, the president of Life for Paris, met them at the Deux Palais. “I wished them luck, and one said, ‘No, good luck to you, because for me the nightmare ended tonight.’ » During the trial, all assured that he did not know the motivations of their friends from Molenbeek, this district of Brussels from which several sentenced to heavy sentences originate, including Salah Abdeslam, to irreducible life imprisonment.
But for some civil parties, this does not change much. “Whether they knew about it or not, they helped make it all possible, sweeps away Cédric Maurin, also at the Bataclan on the evening of the attacks. It was out of the question for me to speak with them. » While she was talking with Ali Oulkadi, Aurélie Silvestre was also taken to task by another victim, who reproached her for her closeness to “one of them”. “It reminds us that nothing is simple”she comments.
If he rarely went to the hearings, Gaétan, also present in the concert hall, said to himself ” hit “ by the links forged by some during the trial. At the invitation of a victim’s family, Ali Oulkadi, Hamza Attou and Abdellah Chouaa went a few weeks ago to the Bataclan and to the covered terraces. “It was moving, says Me Boesel, present that evening. We experienced a beautiful moment of restorative justice, this principle which consists in bringing victims and perpetrators into dialogue. »
This “fellowship”Adrien Sorrentino, Chouaa’s lawyer, who is considering appealing after pleading for acquittal, has also seen her. “She tells of the humanity that went through this trial. This is the spirit of justice: seeing two worlds separated by terror come together. » Two days later, Delphine Boesel says she still has trouble finding the right words to describe this evening, which the last left around 3 a.m., after some ice cream at Smarties. “The arrival of the three magistrates from the national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office was surprising, says the lawyer. But this approach was interesting. It said something about what they, too, experienced with us. It’s quite rare. »
Wednesday evening, we returned home, to those who we were on November 13, before the attacks
All of them, quite close in age – “a generation”, describes Aurélie Silvestre –, lived together as one lives a school year, in a group, from September to June; a verdict as a final review. The young woman, exhausted, could not have imagined more beautiful “final scene” :“Wednesday evening, we returned home, to those who we were on November 13, before the attacks. It was a party in our image. »That of a youth who goes out on Friday evenings to listen to music and have a drink on the terrace.