Surviving Paris Attack Suspect Wants to Return, “Explain Himself”

Salah Abdeslam, a French citizen, was arrested in Brussels on March 18

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World
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 Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam. (Photo: AP)

Salah Abdeslam, the prime surviving suspect in November’s Paris attacks, will no longer fight extradition to France as he had vowed to do but instead now wants to return to “explain himself”, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Abdeslam, a French citizen, was arrested in Brussels on March 18 after a four-month manhunt in the wake of the Nov. 13 shooting and suicide bombing rampage by Islamic State militants that killed 130 people in Paris.

His lawyer, Sven Mary, told reporters in Brussels that he hoped Abdeslam’s return to Paris could happen “as soon as possible ... Regarding going to France, I think it’s really a question of weeks”.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins had said last week that at worst it could take three months for Abdeslam to be handed over to France after the suspect said he would oppose extradition.

Investigations into suicide bombings in Brussels on Tuesday - also claimed by Islamic State and in which at least 31 people died - have pointed in Abdeslam’s direction as well, indicating that the same jihadist network was involved in both the Paris and Brussels attacks, police said.

Mary said Abdeslam was due in court in Brussels on March 31 to face a European arrest warrant issued by France. This warrant is a procedure reserved for European Union member states that speeds up the traditional extradition process by preventing government authorities from blocking any transfer.

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