• France's news in English

Driver of Paris suspect pleads ignorance

AFP · 27 Nov 2015, 16:26

Published: 27 Nov 2015 16:26 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Ali Oulkadi, 31, charged on Monday with helping Abdeslam and taking part in a terrorist group and terrorist killings, formally denied the charges and wanted Abdeslam arrested at all costs, his lawyer Olivier Martins said.

"No one knew that Salah was wanted, he (Ali Oulkadi) did not know," Martins told reporters after his client appeared in a Brussels court under armed guard as investigations continued into the November 13th Paris massacre which left 130 people dead.

The lawyer said that around noon on Saturday November 14th, Oulkadi got a call from an unnamed friend who asked to be picked up in the Laeken area in the northwest of Brussels to take him to nearby Schaerbeek. When he arrived, this friend was with another man whom Oulkadi did not immediately recognise because he was wearing a pulled down hat, Martins said.

But once in the car, Oulkadi recognised him as Salah Abdeslam because Oulkadi was "one of the best friends" of his older brother Brahim Abdeslam, the lawyer added.

A "particularly nervous" Salah Abdeslam did however tell Oulkadi during the drive that Brahim "had killed people and blew himself up" during the gun and bomb attacks, Martins said. He said the revelations left Oulkadi "in a state of shock" and he drove to their destination "like an automaton."

"Oulkadi has only one wish - that Salah is arrested and that these things stop," Martins said. He said his client had no criminal record and "absolutely" no terror links so should be released.

French and Belgian authorities say Salah Abdeslam fled to Belgium where he is now the subject of a massive manhunt. Salah Abdeslam is believed to have helped drive some of the attackers to their Paris targets and may have meant to blow himself up, like brother Brahim, with an explosive vest which was found abandoned in a Paris suburb earlier this week.

Oulkadi lives in the same largely Muslim district of Molenbeek - dubbed a hotbed for extremists - where Salah and Brahim Abdeslam hail from.

On Friday Belgian authorities questioned two more people over the attacks, one as a suspect and another as a witness. Belga news agency reported that they were brothers.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

French expats in UK suffer Brexit abuse
French ambassador to the UK Sylvie Bermann with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: AFP

French nationals no longer feel at home in the UK, ambassador says. But Brits in France have been greeted with sympathy since the referendum.

Six to go on trial in France over topless Kate photos
Photo: AFP

The topless pics sparked fury among the royals.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available