Eagles of Death Metal member ‘pardons’ suspects in Bataclan bombings trial

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Singer Jesse Hughes was on stage at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris on November 13, 2015, when gunmen began shooting into the crowd and detonating explosives.

This week, he was back in Paris to testify at the trial of 20 men accused of carrying out the wave of attacks.

“I forgive them,” he said afterwards. “It’s important to forgive.”

The lead singer of American band Eagles of Death Metal told the court of the shock the band felt when the assailants burst through the doors and opened fire with automatic weapons. The band escaped through a side door, but their tour manager was killed.

After his court appearance, Hughes said, “I feel better. I was surrounded by love and my friends here in France, and love wins.”

Among those tried is the tenth alleged member of the 10-man commando suspected of carrying out the attacks, Salah Abdeslam. He was the only survivor.

Abdeslam has already appeared in court and said he chose not to set off his suicide vest that night. He fled to Belgium, where he was arrested a few months later.

“I didn’t kill anyone and I didn’t hurt anyone. Not even a scratch,” Abdeslam said in a short address to the court before questioning began in February.

Last October, a month after the opening of the long trial, it was the turn of some 300 survivors to tell their story. Identified by their first names only, spectators at the Bataclan testified to the terror they felt as they tried to hide, or fell to the ground, as the shooting continued and many spectators were taken Held hostage.

Clarisse was only 24 when she went to the rock concert that night. She told the court how she broke the toilet ceiling and hid for four hours as the shooting continued.

Edith hid on the balcony of the Bataclan, listening to the gunshots, the screams, the phones ringing and the explosion as one of the assailants blew up his suicide vest.

American caterer Helen begged a shooter in English “please stop” – he walked away, but his friend Nick was already dead.

Irmine said the bouncer at the Bataclan concert hall grabbed her arm and urged her to run while the assailants reloaded their weapons. Cedric told how he had to walk over corpses to escape.

Abdeslam, who is being held in solitary confinement in a high-security section of a Paris prison, is the only defendant to stand trial for murder. He is also charged with attempted murder, terrorist association and more. The trial continues.

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