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Abdeslam says he didn't know about Brussels terror plot

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Photo: AFP
10:23 CET+01:00
Salah Abdeslam, the chief surviving suspect of the Paris attacks has told his lawyer he did not know about a plan to bomb Brussels airport and metro system and has stopped cooperating with investigators.

Asked if Abdeslam, who was arrested last week in Brussels over the Paris carnage in November, had prior knowledge of Tuesday's attacks in the Belgian capital, lawyer Sven Mary said in English: "He didn't know it".

Investigators believe Abdeslam played a key role in organising the attacks in Paris. after his capture he told investigators he was meant to blow himself up at the Stade de France but  changed his mind at the last minute.

Since his arrest his lawyer said he was cooperating with police, but after the Brussels attacks he has apparently stopped talking.

"I think he wanted to see me because he had a visit from the investigators" on Tuesday, said lawyer Sven Mary.

Asked if Abdeslam had cooperated with the investigators following the triple bomb attack in Brussels, Mary said: "No".

"I don't want him to close up again. If he closes up again, we will be facing more cases like Zaventem and the Bataclan," he said, referring to Brussels airport hit Tuesday and the Paris concert hall struck by jihadists on November 13.

Asked what Abdeslam thought of the Brussels attacks, Mary said: "I don't want to know what he thinks. At this stage, it's not important."

Abdeslam, 26, who was shot in the leg during his arrest last Friday in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, "is recovering bit by bit from his injury, which was not serious," Mary said.

(Pictures from I-TELE show Abdeslam trying to flee from police before he was captured last Friday.)

Abdeslam, the chief surviving suspect of the November 13 attacks in Paris and who was captured after a siege in Brussels on March 18th, wants to be handed over to French authorities "as soon as possible", his lawyer said.

"Salah Abdeslam told me that he wishes to leave for France as soon as possible," lawyer Sven Mary said. "I will ask the investigating magistrate not to oppose his departure."

Abdeslam has been charged with "terrorist murder" over the attacks in the French capital in which 130 people were killed.

Previously his lawyer had vowed to fight extradition to France. It is unclear why Abdeslam has had a change of heart.

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Speaking on Wednesday French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that he expected Abdeslam to be extradited to France without too much fuss and French prosecutor Francois Molins said it would take a maximum of three months.

However with Abdeslam now deciding he won't fight extradition, we can expect to see him in a court in Paris a lot sooner.

 

 

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