The trial has opened before a special criminal court of Reda Hame, the French jihadist known to have associated in Syria with one of the masterminds of the Bataclan killings.
Thirty-four-year-old Hame is accused of “taking part in a criminal group with a view to perpetrating a crime which would endanger the lives of others”.
The accused spent little more than a week in Syria in June 2015. During that time, he claims he was approached by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of the killers who opened fire with a machine gun on the crowd attending a concert at the Bataclan venue in central Paris in November, 2015.
One hundred and thirty people lost their lives at several venues on the same night, victims of three coordinated attacks.
Hame claims that Abaaoud asked him if he would be prepared to open fire on a crowd of people, if someone else could provide the necessary weapons. Hame says that he accepted the mission, and training in the use of the kalachnikov automatic rifle, only so that he would be allowed return to France. He says he never had any intention of committing such a crime.
Invaluable information for investigators
Hame was arrested in August, 2015, shortly after his return to France from Syria. He has spent the past five years in police custody.
A former computer technician, Reda Hame is said to have provided investigators with invaluable information on the organisation of the Islamic State terror group in Raqqa, in central Syria, as well as providing details of planned attacks.
“It was a factory in which they churn out ideas for attacks, in France, in Europe,” he told investigators just before the 13 November massacre.
“All I can tell you is that something is going to happen very soon.”
The trial continues with a psychological evaluation of the accused.