Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam handed over to France

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam has been transferred to France from Belgium, both countries' prosecutors confirm

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The video shows Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the Paris terror attacks, is captured by police in Molenbeek, near Brussels, Belgium, March 18, 2016.

Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the Paris attacks, has been handed over to French authorities from Belgium, prosecutors in both countries said on Wednesday.

Abdeslam, 26, was Europe's most wanted person until his capture in Brussels on March 18 at the end of a 4-month chase after the deadly Paris attacks which killed 130 people.

"Salah Abdeslam has been handed over to the French authorities this morning," Belgium's federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Frank Berton, a high-profile French criminal lawyer, announced he would lead Abdeslam's defence and that he had met him in his prison with Abdeslam's Belgian lawyer Sven Mary and spoke with Abdeslam for at least two hours last week in his prison cell in Belgium.

Investigators have stated Abdeslam told them he had arranged the logistics for the Paris attacks and had planned to blow himself up at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis in Paris but backed down at the last moment.

He has been accused of renting two cars to move the attackers to Paris.

"He told me naturally that he has things to say and he will say them. He wants to talk," Frank Berton said.

"What counts and what matters for us as his lawyers is simply that he gets a fair trial, that he is sentenced for things he did and not things that he didn't do. That's vital because he is the sole survivor," he told BFM TV.

Abdeslam had been held in a prison in the Belgian town of Bruges and also charged over the Brussels attacks related to a shootout with police in an apartment in southern Brussels.

His elder brother Brahim, with whom he used to run a bar in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, blew himself up outside a Parisian cafe on the night of the Paris attacks.

Abdeslam's alleged Paris accomplice Mohamed Abrini was also charged over the Brussels attacks.

31-year-old Abrini, has confessed to being "the man in the hat" caught on video with suicide bombers at Brussels airport.

Mohamed Abrini has admitted to being the man in the hat (right) at Brussels airport. (Reuters)

Abrini was also found to be linked to the Paris attacks after being caught on video at a motorway gas station with Abdeslam.

The multiple attacks in Paris on November 13 killed 130 people and wounded hundreds of others, the attacks have been described by President Francois Hollande as an "act of war" carried out by DAESH.

Gunmen and suicide bombers hit a concert hall, restaurants and bars and the Stade de France stadium where France's football team was playing a football match against Germany.

Seven DAESH members died during the attacks and two during police operations.


TRTWorld and agencies