World Europe 24 Mar 2016 Paris suspect Salah ...

Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam wants to be extradited to France: lawyer

AFP
Published Mar 24, 2016, 5:36 pm IST
Updated Mar 24, 2016, 5:36 pm IST
He is believed to be the last survivor from the cell of 10 men who carried out the massacre.
Abdeslam has been held in a high security jail in Bruges, northwest of Brussels since his arrest Friday, just four days before this week's attacks in the Belgian capital. (Photo: AP)
 Abdeslam has been held in a high security jail in Bruges, northwest of Brussels since his arrest Friday, just four days before this week's attacks in the Belgian capital. (Photo: AP)

Brussels: Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam wants to be extradited to France "as soon as possible" to face charges following his arrest in Brussels, his lawyer said Thursday.

Asked if his client had prior knowledge about Tuesday's suicide bombings at Brussels airport and on a metro train, lawyer Sven Mary said in English: "He didn't know it."

 

Abdeslam has been held in a high security jail in Bruges, northwest of Brussels since his arrest Friday, just four days before this week's attacks in the Belgian capital.

Europe's most wanted man had been on the run for four months after the November 13 Paris suicide bomb and gun attacks in which 130 people were killed. He is believed to be the last survivor from the cell of 10 men who carried out the massacre.

His lawyer initially said he would oppose moves by France to obtain his extradition quickly. But speaking outside the city law courts early Thursday, Mary said Abdeslam had changed his mind.

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

He added, "The most important part of the file is in France. His explanations have to go there."

Mary did not reiterate his claim made earlier on French radio that Abdeslam has not cooperated with investigators since the attacks in the Belgian capital.

"This is confidential," he said outside the law courts when asked. He had been asked earlier by Europe 1 radio 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 told the radio, referring to Brussels airport hit Tuesday and the Paris concert hall struck by jihadists on November 13.

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