Belgium asks France to transfer Paris terror suspect Abdeslam

Belgian authorities have asked their French counterparts to temporarily transfer Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam to Belgium for trial over a shootout with police in Brussels last year, prosecutors said Friday.
Abdeslam, the only surviving alleged member of the Islamist gang that murdered 130 people in the French capital in November 2015, is in custody in France awaiting trial for the Paris attacks.
Belgian judges have ordered the 28-year-old, who was arrested in Belgium in March last year after a gun battle with police, to stand trial in Brussels along with his alleged accomplice Sofiane Ayari, with the case due to start on December 18.
The Belgian federal prosecutor?s office said Friday it filed a petition with a Brussels court on October 9 asking for "an arrest warrant against Salah Abdeslam" so that he can stand trial in Belgium.
"On 19 October 2017 the court issued a European arrest warrant. It was handed over to the competent French authorities on 23 October 2017," the prosecutor's office said in a statement.
Abdeslam, a Belgian-born French national, is charged with "attempted murder of several police officers in a terrorist context" over the shootout at a flat in the Forest district of Brussels.
He and Ayari fled the flat but police caught up with them in the gritty Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek, shooting Abdeslam in the leg.
Investigators suspect that Abdeslam's arrest precipitated the suicide bombings targeting Brussels airport and metro system four days later by jihadists who feared that they too would be captured before they could carry out their plot.
The Islamic State group claimed the Paris and Brussels attacks and French and Belgian police believe the same terror cell plotted both assaults.
The Belgian prosecutor's office said Abdeslam's trial is scheduled over four days, starting December 18 and ending on December 21.
Belgian prosecutors have said Abdeslam could be the subject of a loan to Belgium during the trial, with expected guarantees for his return to France.
© 2017 AFP
Belgium asks France to transfer Paris terror suspect Abdeslam Belgium asks France to transfer Paris terror suspect Abdeslam Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 08:09:00 Rating: 5