After six hours of deliberation, the verdict came. The Paris Assize Court on Thursday sentenced Essia Boularès, 25, to 44 years in prison for causing the fire of a building on rue Erlanger in February 2019, causing the death of ten people.

The president of the court Franck Zientara justified this sentence by "the extreme gravity of the facts", evoking acts "not disconnected from reality", with a "voluntary" departure of fire, "in the middle of the night", motivated by "anger and resentment". This sentence is accompanied by a two-thirds security, as well as socio-judicial monitoring for 15 years with a "care order".

"I just want to say sorry for everything"

The jurors considered that Essia Boularès' "discernment" was indeed "altered" at the time of the facts, as concluded by two psychiatric expertises, but they "ruled out the benefit of the reduction of sentence" allowed in this case by the penal code. On Wednesday, the attorney general had invited the court to reject such a reduction of sentence, "in view of the extreme gravity of the tragedy" caused by a "voluntary, vengeful and disproportionate action".

He had requested a sentence of 27 years in prison, accompanied by 18 years of security, requisitions described as "dehumanizing" by the defense. In a brief statement before the suspension of the proceedings on Thursday morning, Essia Boularès said: "I just want to say sorry for everything, sorry for everything," before bursting into tears in the box.

  • Justice
  • Fire