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Salah Abdeslam Extradited To France

Belgium has extradited Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam to face trial in France.

He was wounded and arrested in a dramatic raid in Brussels on 18 March after four months on the run. The 26-year-old French national was born in Brussels and lived there before the Paris attacks. He would be held in solitary confinement in a maximum-security prison in the Paris area, said Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas.

The co-ordinated attacks carried out by so-called Islamic State in Paris on 13 November claimed 130 lives and left dozens more severely wounded.

Belgium’s federal prosecutor said Salah Abdeslam had been “surrendered to the French authorities this morning (in execution of the European Arrest Warrant issued by France on 19 March 2016)”. He was then formally placed under arrest. Although he was initially held at a prison in Bruges, he had most recently been in custody at a high-security jail at Beveren, near Antwerp.

Salah Abdeslam is charged in France with participation in terrorist murder and the activities of a terrorist organisation. He was also indicted by Belgian authorities last week over a shoot-out in the Forest area of Brussels in which four police were wounded, three days before he was arrested.

Earlier, French criminal lawyer Frank Berton told French media that he would be taking on Salah Abdeslam’s defence in France following a two-and-a-half-hour meeting between the two last Friday at Beveren.

Mr Berton BFMTV (in French) he hoped the man would be judged “for what he has done and not what he has not done… not for what he represents because he is the last survivor”. Most of the Paris attackers are now dead.