The Hour of Justice in Nice

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Relatives of the 86 who died in the 2016 Nice attack attend the trial in hopes of “learning the truth” and why “the terrorist was not arrested in time”

Six years after the attack in Nice, it is time for justice. This is what the victims expect from that barbaric attack that took place on July 14, 2016, which left 86 dead – 15 of them children – and more than 400 injured in a massive outcry involving a truck on the Paseo de los Ingleses in the well-known French tourist town.

Relatives and victims are confident that the trial, which began this Monday in Paris and will end on December 16, will help them discover the truth and, as far as possible, close that painful page of their lives. “We’ve had time to deal with the tragedy, but ‘we’ve kept the scar,’ said Danielle Lechailler, 73, before the session starts.

“The families, the bourgeois parties, expect a lot from this process. I hope I can meet your expectations. They hope to know the truth, to know what happened, under what circumstances their relatives died, if there were any failures and why the terrorist could not be stopped in time,” explains Samia Maktouf, a lawyer for some 40 years. victims of the brutal outrage.

However, the lawyers, relatives and victims are aware that many of the questions that arise will remain unresolved, as the perpetrator of the attack, Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, cannot be brought to justice as he is deceased.

The terrorist was killed by police shortly after he drove his 19-ton truck into the crowd. That night, some 25,000 people had gathered on Paseo de los Ingleses to see the fireworks that traditionally end the French national holiday of July 14. The festive day ended in tragedy. Lahouaiej-Bouhlel deliberately hit pedestrians in his path with the truck. The attack was claimed days later by the Islamic State. According to the charges, Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was known to the police for assaulting his wife. The intelligence services did not have him on file as a radicalized person. “However, he had been immersed in a jihadist-inspired ideological process several months earlier.”

Seven men and a woman are in the dock. Three of the defendants – Mohamed Ghraieb, Chokri Chafrou and Ramzi Arefa – are being tried for criminal association for terrorist purposes. The trial will have to determine whether they knew that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was planning an attack and whether they helped him prepare it.

Another four suspects, of Albanian nationality, are being tried for common crimes related to the association of criminals and arms trafficking. One of them, Brahim Tritou, is being tried in absentia. He is wanted and imprisoned. He fled France and is believed to have lived in Tunisia for a long time.

“I don’t expect much from this trial,” admits Thierry Vimal, whose 12-year-old daughter died in the attack, aware that the absence of the main terrorist complicates the court’s task. However, Vimal is confident that the trial will allow the French authorities to obtain answers about the removal of organs from some of the victims during the judicial autopsy, without the knowledge of their relatives.

Two years after the funeral of his daughter Amie, this father discovered by accident that several organs had been removed for examination without his consent: “The brain, heart, liver and vocal cords,” says Vimal, who hopes to be able to restore the organs. one day and have them tested for DNA to make sure they belong to his daughter.

The trial takes place 932 kilometers from the place where the tragedy took place: in the courtroom of the court of Paris. This room was built specifically to hold the trial of the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris and Saint-Denis one year ago. The next of kin and victims, who cannot travel to the French capital, will be able to follow the trial remotely from a broadcast room in the Acropolis Palace in Nice, after an agreement has been reached by the city council and the Ministry of Justice. The process will be “difficult”, but if we face the accused and “understand what happened, we can rebuild ourselves,” confides Seloua Mensi, who lost her sister in the attack.

Source: La Verdad

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