there was one chair for the ringleader

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In that frightening room above the Conciergerie
dungeons, where there was one chair for the ringleader and benches behind
for those destined to share his or her fate, what was on trial was a frame of
mind. Individuals were beside the point; what mattered was the triumph of
the revolutionary mentality over anything that might oppose, challenge or
detract from it. 'Whoever trembles is guilty,' Robespierre said darkly.
--from<Fatal Purity-Robespierre and the French Revolution>by Ruth Scurr

I have no idea of the meaning of "ringleader " in this phrase . Does it means "principal criminal"? Cananybody help me? many thanks.
 
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