lawyers oppose resumption with videoconferencing

Defense lawyers and several lawyers for victims of the January 2015 attacks denounced this Saturday in forums the use of videoconferencing to bring the main accused, ill, to appear and thus allow the resumption of the trial, which had been interrupted for three weeks.

«We refuse to condone the sad spectacle of a criminal trial without an accused», Headlines the column published in The world by 19 lawyers for the accused, who protest against an order signed Wednesday by the Minister of Justice. This text exceptionally authorizes, during the health crisis, that the final part of a criminal trial – pleadings and requisitions – can take place in the physical absence of an accused, who would then appear by videoconference.

Thursday, the president of the special court of assizes of Paris had announced to the parties that he was considering using this order to resume the trial on Monday, despite the persistent indisposition of his main accused. Ali Riza Polat, tried for “complicityOf terrorist crimes in this trial, which began on September 2, had vomited on October 28, then tested positive for Covid-19 three days later, resulting in the suspension of the trial.

“Iniquitous and flagrant violation of fundamental rights”

«This order, cut to the millimeter to unblock the long-running trial in which we are involved, is an iniquitous and flagrant violation of the fundamental rights of litigants and the rights of the defense. The physical presence of the accused at the hearing is a fundamental guarantee of a fair trial and cannot be subject to any exceptions.», Write the defense lawyers.

«Forcing a sick man, who risks years of criminal imprisonment, to say his last words alone, in front of a microphone, between four walls, is unworthy of our rule of law, and no judge should be able to render a verdict without having to cross the look of the one who receives it», Continues the text, addressed to the Minister of Justice and former lawyer Éric Dupond-Moretti. “This rogue ordinance is signed and defended by the very one who embodied the nobility of the Assize Court, this queen of the judicial arena now cut off from the presence of those she judges.», Write his former colleagues.

In a second column also published on Saturday by The world, 47 lawyers of the victims of these attacks also denounce “a worrying interference with the functioning of justice“. Several unions of magistrates and lawyers denounced this order on Friday. The association of criminal lawyers (Adap) has seized the Council of State with a summary of freedom – an emergency procedure – the examination of which is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, AFP learned from their counsel Me Patrice Spinosi.

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