Belgium approves extradition of Paris suspect Abdeslam to France: prosecutor

31st March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Belgian judicial authorities on Thursday approved the extradition to France of Paris attacks prime suspect Salah Abdeslam, prosecutors said, adding that a date for the transfer had not been set.

"As Salah Abdeslam had declared to agree to be transferred to France, a federal magistrate took his formal declaration today... The transfer is possible," the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement.

"Belgian and French authorities will now consider jointly on how to proceed further in the execution of the transfer," the statement added.

French-Belgian national Abdeslam, 26, the sole surviving suspect in the November 13 Paris attacks in which 130 people were killed, was arrested in Brussels on March 18 after four months on the run.

Abdeslam's lawyer Cedric Moisse said earlier that his client had consented to his extradition.

"Salah Abdeslam wants to be handed over to the French authorities," Moisse told reporters in Brussels. "I can also confirm that he wants to cooperate with the French authorities."

French President Francois Hollande announced immediately after Abdeslam's arrest that he wanted him returned to France as quickly as possible to face justice over the attacks in which he is believed to have acted as a logistics coordinator.

Abdeslam, who was caught unarmed after being shot in the leg in a dramatic police raid in Brussels, told interrogators he had intended to blow himself up at the Stade de France stadium in Paris but backed out at the last minute.

Abdeslam has connections to at least two of the March 22 Brussels bombers.

Khalid El Bakraoui, who blew himself up at a metro station, rented a flat in Brussels where Abdeslam's fingerprints were found.

One of the two airport bombers, Najim Laachraoui, who is also suspected of having made the bombs for the Paris attacks, once drove to Hungary with Abdeslam.


© 2016 AFP

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