Wednesday 28 September 2016

Irish fan arrested at Euros in same jail as Paris terror suspect

Published 08/07/2016 | 20:10

Gare du Nord train station in Paris where the assault took place and inset Salah Abdeslam
Gare du Nord train station in Paris where the assault took place and inset Salah Abdeslam

An Irish football fan arrested at Euro 2016 for violence is being held in the same prison as Salah Abdeslam, one of the men accused of being involved in the Paris terrorist attacks.

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Fleury-Merogis, which was built to hold just over 3,000 inmates, is Europe's biggest prison and is renowned for overcrowding.

Salah Abdeslam
Salah Abdeslam

It is also a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism.

Abdeslam is the only known surviving suspect from last November's attacks. He was charged with terrorist offences earlier this year after he was arrested by security forces in Belgium following an inter- national manhunt.

Gare du Nord train station in Paris where the assault took place
Gare du Nord train station in Paris where the assault took place

Dubliner David Hunt (35), with an address in Ballinteer, was jailed last month for eight months after being charged with "assault with a weapon" in Paris. He was in France supporting Ireland.

Hunt is currently appealing his sentence for the attack that arose from a disagreement with a man at the Gare du Nord train station on June 15, two days after Ireland's opening game of the tournament against Sweden.

It has since been reported that the weapon was a walking stick Hunt was using for an injured ankle.

Police said he had used this in a fight alongside British co-defendant Stephen Jamnitzky.

They were threatened by a third man at the train station and a fight broke out before the police were called to the scene and intervened.

Abdeslam (26) was whisked from a prison in Belgium last April to Fleury-Merogis, 30km south of Paris.

He is being held in isolation in a cell equipped with CCTV cameras that track his every move. He is also being watched by guards who French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said are specially trained to monitor "people reputed to be dangerous".

worrisome

Fleury-Merogis can officially accommodate 3,036, but reports in the French media this week said there were more than 4,500 inmates behind its walls.

Prison director Nadine Picquet wrote to local government authorities last month highlighting her concerns about overcrowding.

"I call your attention to the particularly worrisome situation of the prison population," she wrote.

"It is a situation all the more difficult as the number of prisoners incarcerated for terrorism continues to increase."

She warned that tension is increasing among prisoners and staff are "exhausted".

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