The eight individuals who went on trial in Paris this week are accused of serving to him, although investigators didn’t discover proof that they have been instantly concerned within the carnage.
Whereas the Islamic State group claimed duty and Bouhlel had been impressed by its propaganda, investigators discovered no proof that IS orchestrated the assault.
The suspects on trial, of their opening testimony Tuesday, sought to distance themselves from the attacker and any extremist concepts.
“I noticed nothing coming and I discovered myself caught within the gears,” mentioned Mohamed Ghraieb, charged with affiliation with a terrorist prison. “It was a scumbag who did this. Terrorism frightens me.”
Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, 31, was perceived by his household as a violent individual, however not non secular. He ate pork and drank alcohol. Ghraieb and different defendants mentioned they didn’t discover his radicalization, which investigators mentioned developed within the area of only a few weeks earlier than the assault.
“On the day of July 14, I used to be with the injured and I did it with all my coronary heart. When the title of the terrorist got here out, I used to be the one who went to the police,” to supply testimony concerning the attacker, Ghraieb advised the courtroom. “I’ve advised the reality from the beginning.”
He mentioned Lahouaiej-Bouhlel “tricked me.” Investigators say Ghraieb was near the attacker and rode within the truck used for the assault earlier that week.
Suspect Chokri Chafroud, additionally accused of shut ties to the attacker, struggled for phrases to explain the horrors of that night time. “I don’t know what was on his thoughts. However I didn’t assist him in any respect.”
Ramai Arefa advised he courtroom he was 21 years outdated and dwelling “on drug trafficking” on the time of the assault. “I admit having been the middleman for the sale of a pistol, however I didn’t know this individual outdoors of drug trafficking. I didn’t associate with him on any mission.”
The opposite defendants have been charged with lesser, non-terrorist crimes akin to sale or transport of weapons.
Two spoke through Albanian translators, saying they have been sorry for the victims however knew nothing about Lahouaiej-Bouhlel’s intentions.
They mentioned they’d solely been in France for a couple of months and have been working underneath the desk in development, and each mentioned they’d nothing to do with terrorism.
Seven of the eight accused have been in courtroom. The eighth, in detention in Tunisia, is being tried in absentia. If convicted, they face sentences starting from 5 years to life in jail.
The trial is scheduled to final three and a half months, with a verdict anticipated in December.