Abdeslam’s trial: Sven Mary becomes the focal point

After Salah Abdeslam‘s decision to no longer reappear before the judges, the focus now turns to his barrister, Sven Mary.

Many barristers have become really famous after accepting to defend criminals in high court cases such as this one. Jacques Vergès, a former French barrister (1924 – 2013) is a perfect example, as he defended Klaus Barbie (Nazi official) and Carlos (a terrorist) and proposed to defend Muammar Gaddafi and Slobodan Milošević.

Although Sven Mary doesn’t have such a résumé, nobody can deny he is now the real star of the Salah Abdeslam’s trial.

Last week: not surprising

The victims’ families were, unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, disappointed. Salah Abdeslam invoked Allah as his only judge at the beginning of the trial, before adding he had nothing to say to anyone. He then chose not to reappear before the judges anymore, a right guaranteed by the Belgian law.

Sofien Ayari made the same decision last Thursday. This means the trial, which is supposed to reopen next month, will have no standing suspects.

The main focus is then on Sven Mary. This criminal defense lawyer earned celebrity after he accepted to carry the Salah Abdeslam’s case. He also made quite sensitive statements over the last couple of months, but the last hearing on Thursday was probably the most significant one.

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What’s the point of defending Salah Abdeslam, as he only trusts in Allah?

Sven Mary stated it is “To give the barbarians who aim to destroy the Rule of law the finger and to show them that Rule of law still stands despite their offenses”.

Sven then kept using provocative rhetoric and pleas, arguing that the proceedings are inadmissible, as a Flemish judge delivered the hearing in French.

One of the last points Sven Mary used was also controversial. Bearing in mind that both suspects are not charged for the Paris attacks but for a shooting on policemen, Sven Mary thinks there is no way to talk of this as a “terrorist act”. Although he stated a shooting has “extreme gravity”, this one did not aim “to destroy the structures of a country as terrorism does”.

Mr. Mary said Abdeslam’s was trying to avoid detection from the authorities. Both the civil parties and the public prosecutor, of course, disagreed with his opinion, arguing both Salah Abdeslam and Sofien Ayari were planning other attacks.

Everyone has the right to be defended; there is no way to question that principle. When a Public Enemy Nr. 1 is charged, her/his barristers always gain attention for doing so. Let’s see where the evolution of the case will take Sven Mary’s arguments, and to which extent he will be able to defend Salah Abdeslam.