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It is the heaviest penalty in the penal code. Incompressible life imprisonment or “real life” – thirty years of sentence without possible adjustment – is encouraged by Salah Abdeslam, who must be fixed on his fate Wednesday evening at the trial of the attacks of November 13.
The only survivor of the commandos of November 13, 2015 Salah Abdeslam could be sentenced to irreducible life imprisonment, Wednesday, June 29, at the trial of the attacks that bloodied Paris.
The National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (Pnat) demanded this extremely rare sanction on June 10, believing that this “key player” in the attacks had “remained faithful to his ideology to the end” and had never expressed “the slightest remorse”.
It is “a slow death sentence”, protested the defense of Salah Abdeslam, 32 years old.
The “full life” makes it impossible to request a sentence adjustment
The special assize court, composed solely of professional magistrates, is not required to follow these requisitions. If it pronounces an unlimited security period, it must specifically justify its decision.
This “actual life” makes it impossible to request a sentence adjustment.
A person sentenced to this penalty may, however, after thirty years in prison, ask the sentencing court to reconsider this impossibility.
The court can only reduce the duration of the security period under certain conditions, and after consulting a commission made up of five judges from the Court of Cassation responsible for determining whether it is necessary to put an end to the application of the decision of the assize court.
To be able to benefit from an increase in his unlimited security period, the convict must demonstrate serious guarantees of social rehabilitation.
The court also ensures that its decision is not likely to cause a serious disturbance to public order and gathers the opinion of the victims beforehand. He decides after the expertise of a college of three medical experts who present the state of dangerousness of the condemned person.
Spoken four times
The “real life” was introduced in 1994 under the leadership of the Minister of Justice Pierre Méhaignerie, marked by the rape and murder of a young girl by a man already convicted of sexual crimes.
It has only been pronounced four times: against Pierre Bodein, known as “Pierrot le fou” in 2007, Michel Fourniret – who has since died in prison – in 2008, Nicolas Blondiau in 2013 and Yannick Luende Bothelo in 2016, each time for murders of children accompanied by rape or torture.
Initially provided for these crimes only, the incompressible life sentence was extended in 2011 to murders or attempted murders of persons holding public authority (law enforcement, magistrates, prison guards).
Eleven of the twenty accused in the trial of the November 13 attacks – six of whom are being tried in absentia – were dismissed for complicity in attempted murders in an organized gang and in connection with a terrorist enterprise on the BRI police officers who intervened at the Bataclan, and therefore encourages incompressible perpetuity.
After the series of attacks that bloodied France in 2015, “real” life imprisonment was extended to terrorist crimes in June 2016, but this law is not retroactive.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which was seized by Pierre Bodein, had validated in 2014 the life sentences applied in France, considering that they offered a hope, even a tiny one, of release to the detainee.