Eagles Of Death Metal's Jesse Hughes tells Bataclan trial: I forgive the terrorists

Jesse Hughes arrives at court in Paris
Jesse Hughes arrives at court in Paris (Image credit: Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/Getty Images)

Eagles Of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes has testified in a Paris courtroom about the 2015 attack at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, when Islamic State extremists stormed the venue and killed 90 fans.

Hughes and Eagles Of Death Metal guitarist Eden Galindo are in Paris to testify at the criminal trial of Salah Abdeslam, the sole surviving member of the extremist cell that attacked the theatre. 

Taking to the stand to recall the events of the night, Hughes testified how the attacks had changed his life, saying, "I’m in a different state today, but I carry a nervousness in me since these attacks. I look at the crowds differently today. Now I’m starting to feel buried feelings again that I thought I had overcome.”

Hughes then addressed the attackers, saying, “I pray today for them and for their souls, that the light of our lord shines on them. I would like to conclude with one word from singer Ozzy Osborne: ‘You can’t kill rock n’ roll! You can’t kill rock n’ roll!'"

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Hughes expanded on his feelings about the perpetrators, saying "I’m a Christian and everyone can be lost and everyone needs to find the way and most of the gentlemen in there do, so I forgive them and I hope that they find the peace of God themselves." 

Guitarist Galindo spoke about the attack in detail, saying, “I remember the crowd looking at us, not understanding. We thought it was going to stop. But it kept going. They reloaded.”

He went on to reveal how his own life had changed since the attacks, saying, "Objectively I will never be the same since that day. But we continued our tour. Today I have one daughter, I have a different life. I will never be the same again. I think of the victims every day. I pray for them.”

Defendent Abdeslam provided logistical support to the other terrorists on the night of the attack, and was arrested four months later in Brussels. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison at an earlier trial after being found guilty of the attempted murder of police officers in a shootout during the arrest. 

Abdeslam has expressed remorse for his involvement in the attacks, telling the court last month, "I wish to express my condolences and offer an apology to all the victims. I know that hatred remains... I ask you today that you hate me with moderation. I ask you to forgive me."

The trial, which began in February, is expected to last for nine months.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.