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Marked by the 2015 Paris Attacks, and Now Defending the Accused-EnglishHindiBlogs-News

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Paris – Days after 130 people were killed in terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, four young lawyers took part in a prestigious speech contest. Competing in the final round, he struggled to clear his mind of shocking images of the carnage. He had seen it playing on television.

If they won the competition, from which an elite cadre of future public defenders are chosen each year, they felt they could argue the cases of those who were accused of attacking, he recently said. I remembered.

“We knew we might have to get involved in a case like this,” said 39-year-old Karim Loughy, who was just a few miles away, who was drafting his speech at the time of the attack. “And of course, that’s what happened.”

More than six years later, Mr. Loughy and three colleagues who took part in the 2015 competition – Merabi Murgulia, Lee Dordilli and Simon Clemenceau – took the stage again. This time, he was in a Paris court defending two suspects in a months-long trial of 20 people accused of involvement in the 2015 attacks. A decision is expected on Wednesday evening.

Coordinated attacks included shootings and suicide bombings at the Bataclan concert hall, where most of the victims were killed; The area outside the French national football stadium; and the terraces of cafes and restaurants in central Paris. The attack, which also injured some 500 people, was carried out by 10 Islamic State extremists, most of whom blew themselves up.

Salah Abdeslam, who appeared at the trial, one of the largest ever in France, is the only defendant still alive who is accused of participating in the attacks. The other defendants have been charged with aiding or abetting terrorists.

About half of the 30 or so defense attorneys involved in the trial have followed a similar path to their current roles. In his 30s, he “graduated from”la convention“An exclusive program that each year selects a handful of young lawyers from a speech contest and prepares them to become top public defenders.

Due to attacks by Islamic fundamentalists in France over the past decade, the young faces of La Conférence have become more familiar on the benches of terrorism trials, giving rise to a generation of lawyers specializing in such cases.

He defended a suspect in that trial.

Others have been humiliated on the social network. “In the minds of the people,” said Ms. Dordley, the jihadists “are unforgivable.”

But the young lawyer who is defending the accused in the Paris attack trial (others representing some of the plaintiffs), turned a blind eye to the criticism leveled at him.

“At no time do we defend terrorism,” Mr. Clemenceau said. “By saving a little bit, we also contribute to justice by ensuring that every defendant gets a fair defense,” he said.

“We are here to defend our rule of law,” said Witt, who has defended clients on 12 counts of terrorism and is advising plaintiffs in the Paris trial. “We have somehow become collectively a barometer of counter-terrorism justice.”

Mr. Clemenceau and Ms. Dordili, who defended a suspect in the trial, have been involved in dozens of such cases. This year, he defended the cousin of an Islamic State assassin of a French priest, and he will counsel plaintiffs in an upcoming trial regarding a terrorist attack in Nice in 2016.

But tackling terrorism was not part of the career plans of many young lawyers.

“They were immersed in it through La Conférence,” said Antoine Magee, a political scientist at the University of Rouen in northern France, which specializes in terrorism laws.

A two-century-old, Ivy League-like club, La Conférence is perhaps France’s most prestigious lawyers’ association. Each year, it selects a dozen, all under 35, through a speech competition held in a splendidly paneled library at the old Court of Appeal in Paris. Winners are automatically appointed as public defenders in sensitive criminal cases in the French capital – an invaluable career booster.

For the classes of the late 2010s, when attacks on French soil escalated, joining La Conférence essentially meant being in a whirlwind of terrorism matters.

“I suddenly realized that this was going to be my daily life,” said Ms. Dordili, the class of 2016, as she recalled her shifts at the courthouse, where she would often walk through corridors blindfolded to protect suspects. Used to meet dressed police officers. ,

It was there, in July 2016, she first met Adele Haddadi, the man she is defending alongside Mr Clemenceau in the trial that ends on Wednesday.

From 2013 to 2018 each class of LA Conférance is represented in the trial. Mr. Abdeslam is defended by a former 2015 student.

La Conference, Mr. “It has actually trained an entire generation on terrorism issues,” Magee said.

Unlike some of his famous predecessors at La Conférance – such as Jacques Verges, who defended war criminals and dictators – lawyers at the trial for the Paris attacks say he has tried not to politicize his work. They say that defending jihadism is not only unimaginable, it will have no consequences.

But many have been critical of the legal definition of “an association of wrongdoers in connection with a terrorist enterprise,” under which most of the suspects in the trial are being prosecuted.

Lawyers, along with some scholars, state that by definition individuals can be prosecuted only on the basis that the accused knew they were interacting with a group that had terroristic intentions, even those Even without specific information about intentions.

“The hypothesis over the hypothesis,” Adrian Sorrentino (LA Conference class of 2018) argued in the trial, referring to the so-called crime-by-union indictments.

In an interview, Mr Sorrentino said getting involved in the trial was a challenge for him and other members of his generation.

“In 2015, I am a young Parisian who has become a lawyer and on the night of the attacks, as I am leaving a bar, I find scores of people bleeding in the street,” he said.

“I could very well have been among the victims,” ​​he said.

That tragic duel has troubled some lawyers, he said, especially as survivors testified.

“No one leaves this hearing unfinished,” Mr Murgulia told the court. “We drank in dregs the unheard of sadness of the victims.”

His colleague, Mr Lauffy, described the proceedings as “the trial of a generation”, noting that many of the lawyers, plaintiffs and defendants were between the ages of 30 and 45.

It was clear at the outset of the trial that some plaintiffs were struggling to understand the mission of lawyers defending those accused of such horrific crimes.

But this month, after Mr. Loughy defended his client, a group of plaintiffs came to see him and Mr. Murgulia. “They told us, ‘We struggled to understand at first. Now we do,'” said Mr. Loughy.

“It’s the best response,” he said.


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