Crime & Justice

Hollande: EU was unaware of terror risk posed by people returning from Syria

By Antonio Torres del Cerro

Paris, Sep 5 (EFE).- Former French president François Hollande, whose time in office was marked by a series of deadly terrorist attacks across Paris in November 2015, has accepted an invitation to testify in the upcoming trial of those accused of involvement in the worst mass killings recorded in the European country’s recent history.

The trial of 14 of the 20 people accused of playing part in the attacks that struck simultaneously in five different locations in the French capital and left 131 people dead will begin in Paris Wednesday and is expected to last for eight and a half months.

The alleged perpetrators, many of whom are French and Belgian nationals, trained with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

In an interview with Efe, Hollande, 67, speaks in detail about the attacks and the unprecedented judicial process.

QUESTION: You will testify at the 13 November trial, how do you plan to approach it?

ANSWER: This process is key to understanding what happened, to know what exactly happened.

They will probably ask me about the French interventions in Mali, Syria and Iraq, and whether they were the trigger of the attacks? If it was so, I will show that only France would have been attacked. However, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom among other countries were also targeted by Islamist terrorism.

Q: What do you remember about that night of November 13, 2015?

Hollande: It was a quiet night, nothing suggested that it would end up in horror. The threat level was high but no more than on a normal day. It was France’s friendly match against Germany (Hollande was in the Stade de France presidential box). I hear the first explosion, I don’t know if it’s a firecracker, but it is only after the second that I realized that an attack is taking place outside the stadium.

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