Abdeslam family 'relieved' at Salah arrest: lawyer

19th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

The family of key Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, arrested after being wounded in a dramatic raid in central Brussels, is relieved that he is at least safe, his brother's lawyer said Saturday.

"Mohamed Abdeslam, who I have just talked to, asked me to say... in the name of the family, that there is a sense of relief," Nathalie Gallant told RTBF television.

"Firstly, because Salah was taken alive -- the family had hoped for that. Relief too that finally the manhunt is over because you must understand the family has been under constant pressure for the past four months," Gallant said.

Salah Abdeslam, 26, was taken from a Brussels hospital early Saturday to appear before an examining magistrate in connection with his role in the November 13 attacks claimed by the Islamic State group and which left 130 dead in Paris.

French President Francois Hollande said Friday he would press for Abdeslam to be transferred as quickly as possible to Paris.

Abdeslam was arrested Friday in Brussels' gritty Molenbeek neighbourhood, home to a large, mostly North African community and where the family has lived for many years.

One of his brothers, Brahim, blew himself up in the Paris attacks and was buried Thursday in a Brussels cemetery where another brother, Mohamed, led the funeral cortege.

Mohamed told reporters at the ceremony: "You can watch and write your stories but please, out of respect, no photographs."

Gallant also acts for Abid Aberkan, who was arrested Friday for sheltering Salah Abdeslam in Molenbeek and charged with "participating in a terrorist group" and hiding a fugitive.

© 2016 AFP

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