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World Europe 08 Sep 2016 Paris attacks suspec ...

Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam refuses to answer questions: Lawyer

AFP
Published Sep 8, 2016, 4:23 pm IST
Updated Sep 8, 2016, 4:24 pm IST
Abdeslam has refused to answer questions since being transferred to France from Belgium in April.
Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam. (Photo: AP)
 Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam. (Photo: AP)

Paris: Salah Abdeslam, thought to be the sole surviving member of the jihadist team that attacked Paris in November 2015, on Thursday refused to answer questions from French anti-terror judges for a third time.

"He exercised his right to silence," Frank Berton told reporters after his 26-year-old client appeared at Paris's main courthouse.

 

The lawyer said he was optimistic Abdeslam would eventually cooperate with investigators seeking to establish his role in the deaths of 130 people in the November 13 attacks.

"There's a hope that he will speak to the judges," Berton said. "But it won't be today."

Abdeslam has refused to answer questions since being transferred to France from Belgium in April and is believed to be angry at round-the-clock surveillance of his jail cell.

In July, his lawyer sought unsuccessfully to end the surveillance, a source close to the case told AFP. He was brought to court on Thursday in a heavily-guarded convoy.

After four months on the run, Abdeslam was arrested on March 18 in Molenbeek, a Brussels neighbourhood notorious for being a hotbed of Islamic extremism, where he grew up. He was transferred to France to face terror charges on April 27.

Investigators have yet to pin down Abdeslam's exact role in the coordinated attacks on Paris bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium.

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