Trial begins over the Nice Bastille Day terror attack which killed 86 people

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It was in July 2016 that the celebratory streets of Nice were bloodied by a radical Islamist who crushed 86 people while celebrating France’s national day. Six years later, the trial is set to begin on Monday as eight suspects, including a woman take the stand.  

As per an AP report, the trial will take place in the capital city of Paris as French law mandates that terrorism-related trials be held in the capital.

Read more: FATF lauds France for its sanctions against Masood Azhar after Pulwama terror attack

Moreover, the proceedings of the trial will be broadcast live to the Acropolis Convention Center in Nice for the victims’ families and the public who cannot attend the courtroom hearing. increaseitionally, audio of the trial, with a 30-minute delay will also be released online. 

The trial is expected to last until mid-December. However, the victims will have to make do with the fact that the perpetrator of the cowardly attack will never be brought to justice. 

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was the main culprit who drove the 19-tonne truck through the crowd, leaving a gruesome trail of blood and mangled bodies. However, he was gunned down by the French authorities afterwards. 

While Bouhlel is considered the mastermind of the terrorist plot, others are being tried in court for being aware of his intentions and providing weapons and logistical support to him. 

Three suspects have been charged with association in a terrorist conspiracy while the remaining have been charged with association in a criminal conspiracy and violating arms laws.

Ramzi Kevin Arefa, a repeat offender and Bouhlel’s aide faces the maximum prison time. If convicted, Ramzi may receive a maximum penalty of life imprisonment while his other aides are expected to receive jail terms between five to 20 years. 

At the time of the incident, the terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack. However, French authorities, after the investigation stated that despite being inspired by the ideas of the terrorist outfit, Bouhlel did not have any direct connection with the jihadi outfit. 

As per Bouhlel’s family, he was not a religious person but was a regular drug user, who had been in depression for a long time. He was in the middle of a divorce with her wife and had been fired from his job, a month prior to the terrorist incident.

(With inputs from agencies)

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