Abdeslam to fight extradition to France: lawyer

Paris attacks suspect, referred to as Europe's most wanted man, formally charged with "terrorist murder".

    Paris attacks prime suspect Salah Abdeslam will fight extradition to France, his lawyer said, as he and a second man were formally charged with involvement in "terrorist murder". 

    The other man was identified by Belgian prosecutors as Monir Ahmed Alaaj, alias Amine Choukri - both names that investigators have said appear on fake documents.

    A third man detained on Friday in the same house, named as Abid A, was charged with being a member of a "terrorist organisation" and aiding and abetting criminals.

    A woman detainee, Djemila M, was charged with aiding and abetting but released, the prosecutors said in a statement. A second woman was released without charge. 

    Abdeslam's lawyer, Sven Mary, told journalists that he was cooperating with police but would resist attempts to extradite him to France. 

    "France is asking for his extradition. I can tell you that we will refuse the extradition to France," Mary said.

    READ MORE: Hollande calls Paris attacks an 'act of war'

    Earlier on Saturday, Abdeslam and an accomplice were treated at a hospital for gunshot wounds sustained during their arrest.

    Key Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam in police custody 

    Abdeslam, 26, fled Paris immediately after the attacks in November, slipping back to his home city of Brussels.

    Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel said the extradition of Europe's most wanted man to France could take "several weeks".

    Michel told the Reuters news agency that the speed of any extradition relied in part on the suspect's willingness.

    Meanwhile, Interpol urged "extra vigilance at border controls" the day after the arrest of Abdeslam.

    "The capture of the 26-year-old Belgian-born French national ... may encourage any accomplices to attempt to flee Europe, or elsewhere," the world police body warned its 190 member countries.

    French judges could file an extradition request as early as this weekend. A 2002 European agreement speeds up the process, particularly for grave crimes, and families of victims and survivors want him to face justice in France.

    'A success against terrorism'

    Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, reporting from Brussels, said the proceedings against Abdeslam were expected to begin before Sunday.

    "The actual process of removing him from Belgian territory to French territory could take up to two weeks," Rowland said, adding that French investigators will be very keen to start interviewing him about other possible suspects.

    Hollande said in Brussels on Friday that he was sure "the Belgian authorities will answer [an extradition request] as favourably as possible, as soon as possible."

    Belgian police injured in raid linked to Paris attacks

    Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Hollande confirmed the arrest at a press conference in Brussels on Friday.

    "It was a success against terrorism," said Michel, as he congratulated the security forces who carried out the raid.

    The four-month manhunt for Abdeslam came to an end in the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek with the suspect shot in the leg, according to Ahmed El Khannous, the neighbourhood's deputy mayor.

    Four other people, including members of a family who harboured Abdeslam, were also arrested, said Belgian federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt. 

    Footage showed heavily armed police dragging a man whose face was covered by a white hood into the street and bundling him into the back of a waiting unmarked car. It was not clear from the pictures if the man was Abdeslam.

    Abdeslam, a French national, was born in Brussels and once lived in the city.

    READ MORE: A message from Molenbeek - 'We are not terrorists'

    He is suspected of renting the car that delivered attackers to the Bataclan concert hall where more than 80 people were killed.

    He fled the city after the attacks, which were claimed by ISIL. Hours later, he was stopped and questioned by police at the French-Belgian border before he was allowed through.

    Abdeslam's older brother was among the suicide bombers who killed themselves during the rampage. The younger Abdeslam was driven back to Brussels from Paris hours later.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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