Eagles of Death Metal Band Member ‘Pardons’ Suspects During Bataclan Attack Trial

Singer Jesse Hughes was on stage at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris on November 13, 2015, when gunmen began firing into the crowd and detonating explosives.

This week, he returned to Paris to testify at the trial of 20 men accused of carrying out the wave of attacks.

“I forgive them,” he said afterwards. “It’s important to forgive.”

The lead singer of the American band Eagles of Death Metal told the court about the shock the band felt when the attackers burst through the doors and opened fire with automatic weapons. The band escaped through a side door, but their tour manager was killed.

After his court appearance, Hughes said: “I feel better. I was surrounded by love and my friends here in France, and love wins.”

Among those being tried is the suspected 10th member of the 10-man commando believed to have carried out the attacks, Salah Abdeslam. He was the only survivor.

Abdeslam has already appeared in court and said he decided not to wear his suicide vest that night. He fled to Belgium, where he was captured several months later.

“I didn’t kill anyone and I didn’t hurt anyone. Not even a scratch,” Abdeslam said in a brief speech in court before the interrogation began in February.

Last October, a month after the lengthy trial opened, it was the turn of some 300 survivors to tell their stories. Identified only by their first names, the Bataclan spoke of the terror they felt as they tried to hide or fell to the ground, as the shooting continued and many concertgoers were taken hostage.

Clarisse was only 24 years old when she went to the rock concert that night. She told the court how she went through the roof of the bathrooms and she hid for four hours as the shooting continued.

Edith hid on the balcony of the Bataclan, listening to the gunshots, the screams, the phones ringing and the explosion as one of the attackers removed his suicide vest.

The American catering company Helen begged a gunman in English “please stop”. She walked away, but his friend Nick was already dead.

Irmine said the Bataclan concert hall doorman grabbed her arm and urged her to run as the attackers reloaded their weapons. Cedric recounted how he had to walk over dead bodies to escape.

Abdeslam, who is being held in solitary confinement in a high-security wing of a Paris prison, is the only one of the defendants to be tried for murder. He is also charged with attempted murder, terrorist association and more. The trial continues.

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