Salah Abdeslam told a French court on Wednesday that he had retracted the detonation of his explosive vest during those attacks that killed 130 people.
Abdeslam, 32, confirmed that he had never killed or injured anyone in the Paris attacks, the deadliest in France after the war.
“And you’re there in prison telling yourself ‘I should have blown up that thing’. That’s what you think about when you’re in solitary confinement.”
“I want to say today that I didn’t kill anyone, I didn’t hurt anyone. I didn’t even scratch anyone,” the only survivor of the group that launched the Paris attacks said in a short speech to the court before his interrogation began.
“It is important for me to say this because since the beginning of this case, people have not stopped defaming me,” added Abdeslam, who was arrested in Belgium in 2016.
Abd al-Salam told the court that he joined ISIS out of sympathy for the Syrian people, not religion. He said the West imposed its rules and values on others, and explained, “For us Muslims, this is humiliating.”
Abd al-Salam stressed that he “does not pose a threat to society,” and explained that “the fight that ISIS is waging is legitimate. I want to live under Sharia. But why does that make me dangerous?”
“If I am released, I will not harm anyone. I have been on the run for 4 months and have done nothing to anyone,” he said.
Abdel Salam said that ISIS targeted Paris to force then-French President Francois Hollande to end French military interventions in Syria and Iraq.
“We are here today because of his mistake,” Abdeslam added of Holland.
“I do not represent a danger to society,” said Abdeslam, who was convicted in 2018 by a Belgian court of shooting an officer while trying to escape.