Monday 25 June 2018

Salah Abdeslam 'wants extradition to France and ready to cooperate'

Salah Abdelslam
Salah Abdelslam
Police arrest a suspect in Molenbeek after Salah Abdeslam was captured

Henry Samuel in Paris

A Belgian court decided yesterday that Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam could be extradited to France, Belgium's federal prosecutors said.

A lawyer for Abdeslam (26) said earlier that Abdeslam had dropped his initial objection to being extradited and had also renewed an offer to cooperate with the French authorities.

"Salah Abdeslam wishes to be transferred to the French authorities," Cedric Moisse told reporters. "He wishes to cooperate with the French authorities."

Prosecutors said France and Belgium would discuss how to proceed with the transfer.

After his arrest on March 18, four months after the November 13 Paris attacks that killed 130 people, Abdeslam answered some investigators' questions but then exercised his right to silence following the suicide bombings in Brussels on March 22.

Investigators believe the attacks in Paris and Brussels were carried out by militants from the same Isil network.

Earlier, his lawyer claimed that Abdeslam has agreed to "cooperate" with French police, raising the prospect of him turning supergrass and thus becoming a prime Isil target.

The last known survivor from the cell of 10 men who carried out the Paris massacre has not spoken to investigators since Brussels was hit last week by attacks at the airport and a metro station that were claimed by Isil. He has links to several of those involved in the suicide bombings that killed 32 people.

Shortly after his dramatic March 18 arrest, in which he was shot in the leg trying to flee the scene, his lawyer Sven Marty already claimed he was "cooperating" with Belgian investigators and could prove a "gold mine" to unmask terror networks in Europe.

He notably confirmed that he had intended to blow himself up at the Stade de France stadium in Paris but had backed out at the last minute.

However, excerpts of his interrogation leaked to French media suggest he then palmed investigators off with vague responses and lies.

For example, he claimed he had only ever met Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, once, whereas it is known they were childhood friends. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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