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Paris attacks suspect in Belgian trial

February 5, 2018 11:25 AM
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Paris attacks suspect in Belgian trial

The sole surviving suspect from the 2015 Paris terror attacks has gone on trial at a Belgian court over the gun fight that led to his arrest.

Salah Abdeslam was escorted by two masked police officers, and refused to stand when requested to.

“I do not wish to answer any questions,” he said when asked to confirm his identity.

Abdeslam has refused to speak to investigators since his March 2016 arrest.

Judge Marie-France Keutgen told the court that the suspect had also refused to have photos or video taken of him during the court proceedings.

French prosecutors believe Abdeslam played a key role in the Paris attacks, in which gunmen and suicide bombers targeted a concert hall, stadium, restaurants and bars, killing 130 people and injuring hundreds more.

He became Europe’s most wanted man after the mass killings, and was captured in Brussels four months later.

The defendant’s brother, Brahim, was among the Paris attackers and died in a suicide blast outside a cafe.

Abdeslam is not expected to go on trial in France until 2020 at the earliest.

The charges he now faces in Brussels are not related to events in Paris, but to a shootout he had with police while on the run in Belgium.

Abdeslam and his suspected accomplice Sofian Ayari, 24, are accused of possessing illegal weapons and the attempted murder of police officers in a terrorist context.

The men allegedly fought a gun battle with officers who raided the flat where they were holed up in the Belgian capital. They face up to 40 years in prison if found guilty.


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