Paris attacks suspect charged with ‘terrorist murder’
Federal Prosecutors in Belgium on Saturday formally charged a key suspect in the Paris bombings, Salah Abdeslam, with “terrorist murder” and being part of a terrorist group.
“Salah Abdeslam… (has) been charged by the investigating judge with participation in terrorist murder and participation in the activities of a terrorist organization,” a prosecutors statement said.
Abdeslam’s arrest in the gritty Molenbeek neighbourhood was hailed by European and US leaders, while French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said it dealt a “major blow” to IS jihadists operating in Europe.
The 26-year-old Abdeslam, who had been on the run for four months, and an alleged accomplice who was captured with him were initially taken to a Brussels hospital for treatment for gunshot injuries sustained in the police raid.
In Paris, France President Francois Hollande met Saturday with key cabinet ministers and security officials to discuss the next steps in the probe into the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more.
French President Francois Hollande said shortly after Abdeslam’s arrest Friday that he wanted to see him transferred to France as quickly as possible to face prosecution for the deadly attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.
“I can already tell you that we will oppose his extradition,” Abdeslam’s lawyer Sven Mary told reporters at federal police headquarters in Brussels.
Legal experts said this could delay but not prevent his handover to the French authorities on a European Arrest Warrant which the European Union introduced specifically to speed up extradition cases.