France, Paris – Salah Abdeslam has been extradited from Belgium to France on Wednesday, authorities said. The key suspect for his role during the terror attacks that led 130 people dead will be facing charges in Paris in addition to the already presented ones in Europe.
The Belgian-born suspect with a French citizenship was transported via helicopter to Paris by an elite French military police. Following the suspect’s transportation, he was later delivered to French authorities, officials said. Abdeslam will be appearing in front of the investigating magistrate in the Palais de Justice in the capital, as reported by CNN.
The suspect for allegedly leading the coordinated attacks is charged with participation in terrorist murder and for taking part in the activities of a terrorist organization, he will be held in solitary confinement and guarded by specially trained authorities for high-risk suspects, French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said.
According to Marcel Duredon, a union representative at Fleury-Merogis Prison in the southern suburbs of Paris confirmed the 26-year-old suspect will be held in that institution. The specific role of Abdeslam in the attacks is undefined for authorities investigating the case. However, is known that his fingerprints were on a suicide belt found in Paris after the attacks. In addition,a car that was driven by the suspect was found in a northern Paris district, prosecutors said.
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Abdeslam was captured just a few days after the attacks in Belgium,. The capture of the key suspect added to the theory establishing the attacks were linked. This would mean a deeper connection besides the fact that the Islamic State took responsibility for both attacks, reported the Washington Post.
The extradited man is the only survivor of the men involved in the Paris attacks. Abdeslam used to be one of the most wanted man in Europe until his captured in March. His capture has also been perceived as emotional by the family’s victims who expect the suspect to serve his time in prison. “It is a kind of relief for them to know he’s here,” said Samia Maktouf, a lawyer for the families of 16 of the 130 attack victims.
Salah Abdeslam, suspect in the Paris attacks, has been extradited to France from Belgium, prosecutors said https://t.co/sikoarynAb
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 27, 2016
‘More a follower than a leader’
The representing lawyer for Abdeslam declared that his defendant will be cooperating with authorities as he will not stay silent. In addition, Frank Berton, the french lawyer, said that he will be providing a defense based on explanation. These allegations could provide authorities with a further insight on how the terrorist cell works from within.
Berton sai the line of defense will consist on explaining things, specially his rather fast radicalization, to explain his acts. Which happened moments before the Bataclan attack and in the Stade de France, added Abdeslam’s lawyer in the case.
“He has to be judged for what he did, and not for what he represents as the last survivor. He should not carry the burden of acts which are not his,” Berton said.
In surprise statement, Abdeslam’s lawyer in Belgium, Sven Mary, dismissed his former defendant as a “little jerk among Molenbeek’s little delinquents, more a follower than a leader.” He assured that he has the intelligence of an empty ashtray and that authorities may be exaggerating his role.
Source: Washington Post