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13 October 2016

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam’s lawyers ‘quit his defence’

Police at the scene where shots were fired during a police search of a house in the suburb of Forest near Brussels, Belgium, March 15, 2016.   REUTERS/Yves Herman

Lawyers representing the main terror suspect of the Paris attacks have said they will no longer be defending him because of his decision to remain silent.

French lawyer Frank Berton and his Belgian colleague Sven Mary said Salah Abdeslam’s refusal to speak meant every prison visit was a “social” one.

“We both decided to give up his defence,” Mr Berton told BFM TV in a joint interview with Mr Mary.

“We don’t think that he will speak and he will use the right to remain silent.

“We said from the beginning … that if our client remained silent we would quit his defence.”

Mr Mary added: “When you have the feeling of being there to make social visits to the prison, that is the moment when a decision has to be made.”

Abdeslam has refused to answer questions since he was transferred under police escort from Belgium to France in April to face terror charges.

He is believed to be angry about the 24-hour video surveillance in his maximum-security prison cell.

Abdeslam is thought to have been driven back to Brussels from Paris hours after the attacks by two friends.

After four months on the run, he was arrested in the Belgian capital in March – in the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek, where he grew up – four days before the terror attacks at Brussels airport and a metro station.

He is the only suspect still alive that is believed to have played a direct role in last November’s coordinated attacks at a concert hall, stadium and cafes in which 130 people were killed.

The other attackers died in suicide bombings or under police fire.

Investigators have yet to pin down Abdeslam’s exact role in the attacks.

Source: NewsSky.com

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