“I hope for heavy sentences”: in Monaco, a survivor of the Bataclan confides before the verdict of the attacks of November 13
Adrien did not attend the trial in Paris, but he is a privileged witness. Miraculous from the Bataclan, he already knew the case inside out when we met him in Monaco, at the dawn of the trial for the November 13 attacks. For months, he followed him on a daily basis, via the media and the web radio reserved for civil parties. A sharp, lucid and peaceful gaze.
Adrien, 35, came out alive from a grave that had become a mortuary, during the Eagles of Death Metal concert. He was there with Valentina, 36 today. This Monegasque was to come and live in Paris; the tragedy led Adrien to take the opposite path. The couple got married on the Coast in 2018. They did not wait for this verdict to pick up the thread of their life, or their second life. But for Adrien, this trial will not have been in vain.
What impression do you leave these ten months of hearing?
There were some good, some not so good, and some responses. There were a few additional questions, too, left unanswered. There was a lot of disappointment at times, especially when Belgian police officers made the language of wood. Disappointment, there was none with the defendants. I didn’t expect anything, except their apologies at the end: in my opinion, it was calculated to minimize their pain.
How did you follow the trial? Have you testified?
I followed him quite regularly with the web radio. But the last few months, I’ve stalled. Listening to the defendants, I understood who they were… Testifying, I thought about it. But I didn’t go. The opportunity did not arise. I didn’t take the place of someone who needed it more, that’s not so bad. Each has a different story, but the common vision was pretty well represented.
Were the debates up to the challenge?
Yes. This is still a historic trial! Some lawyers have not always been impeccable. But overall it went very well. Even the media coverage was up to par: rather respectful, factual, not sensational.
Did President Périès conduct this marathon-hearing well?
The president was really very good. He was always clever in responding to provocations. He knew how deep one could dig into the accused. We couldn’t have hoped for much more.
What did you learn ?
I learned more about the course of the attack on the Bataclan. Willing to know the exact timing. It’s important to rationalize what we did, to know how long it took.
What moment did you mark the most?
The testimony of the BRI police officers, and that of the commissioner who returned [le premier dans le Bataclan, ndlr] with his driver. They texted their wives to tell them “Goodbye”. They went there with their small pistols while the others had assault weapons. They have shown impressive self-sacrifice! As for the BRI, even if it’s their job, it’s incredible. There were no fatalities during the assault.
You regret the attitude of the Belgian police at the hearing. Why ?
We’re all here to shed light on what happened. So seeing that they are withholding information annoys and disappoints me. Everyone knows that there were tariffs on the Belgian and French side. But this is not the trial of the police! Why not play cards on the tables? It would save everyone time and it would take away a lot of frustration.
Ten months ago, you considered that Salah Abdeslam had “lost his human status”. Has its evolution made you change your mind?
No. He did not return to humanity because he asked for forgiveness. I see this as pure strategy. In my opinion, he has no real conviction. He adapted to what he was told. I consider him a coward, and he deserves no sympathy. He must end his life in a solitary hole. Even if it must cost us money.
Do you agree with the requisitions (1)?
I do not understand why [Mohamed] Abrini would “take” less than Abdeslam; I think he knew. For Abdeslam, I find it logical that the maximum sentence provided for by French law is. I hope it will be applied. This would be an opportunity to reopen a debate on true perpetuity. Can we estimate that after thirty years, Abdeslam has paid his debt to society?
A defense attorney referred to “a slow death sentence”…
I am not for the death penalty, because there can always be a mistake in a trial. “Slow death penalty? » Good, somewhere. He is thirty years old to say to himself: “I didn’t make the right choices.” At some point, you have to pay. Because all those he paid to kill, they paid a high price…
What do you expect from the verdict?
I hope for heavy sentences. I hope not to be disappointed. I imagine there will be an appeal and a season 2. But the main thing was that there was this trial.
Are you going to be able to “turn the page”?
Yes. I’ve more or less already done that. I keep moving forward, despite everything. Valentina is much better. It is still followed, but less regularly. We are on the same wavelength.
Did this lawsuit grant you “reparation”?
Nope… (he hesitates) Well yes, anyway. This is an important step. If it hadn’t happened, it wouldn’t have helped. Even though I wasn’t expecting much, I’m happy that everything went well.
(1) The National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (PNAT) requested life imprisonment for ten defendants, five of whom were present. Primarily Salah Abdeslam, with incompressible perpetuity. And Mohamed Abrini, sentence accompanied by 22 years of security.