France charges Salah Abdeslam for Paris attacks

Ruling comes hours after suspect of November 2015 attacks is extradited to Paris from Brussels.

    Salah Abdeslam is being held in the Fleury-Merogis prison complex outside Paris [Michel Euler/AP]
    Salah Abdeslam is being held in the Fleury-Merogis prison complex outside Paris [Michel Euler/AP]

    A French court has charged the Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam over his role in the November 2015 killings that left 130 dead, just hours after his extradition from Belgium.

    Abdeslam was brought to France by helicopter early on Wednesday where he was formally placed under arrest before being taken to the main Paris court, where he spent several hours.

    Abdeslam, a French national of Moroccan origin who grew up in Belgium, is believed to be the last surviving member of a group that hit cafes, a concert hall and the national stadium in Paris on November 13.

    His lawyer Frank Berton said that investigating judges charged him with murder, association with "a terrorist group", possession of weapons and explosives as well as sequestration over the hostage-taking at the Bataclan concert hall where 90 were killed.

    Another hearing has been set for May 20, the lawyer said, adding that his client was being held in the Fleury-Merogis prison complex outside Paris.

    READ MORE: Paris attacks - Fear, mourning and indifference

    Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said that the suspect would be placed in isolation and monitored by "hardened guards" skilled in handling dangerous detainees. 

    Europe's most wanted man 

    Abdeslam was arrested in Brussels on March 18 after four months on the run as Europe's most wanted man.

    Prosecutors believe he was in charge of logistics for the Paris attacks, as he rented cars and hotel rooms used by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group attackers.

    His brother Brahim detonated his suicide vest in a bar, and Abdeslam himself said that he had been expected to do the same outside the national stadium, but had backed out at the last minute.

    Abdeslam's arrest came just days before coordinated attacks on Brussels airport and a metro station that left 32 people dead.

    Police have uncovered clear links between Abdeslam and the three Brussels suicide bombers, but he has said through his Belgian lawyer that he knew nothing about the attacks.

    Last month, Belgian police arrested another key Paris suspect called Mohamed Abrini, who was seen with Abdeslam before the attacks, and who turned out to be the so-called "man in the hat" seen in CCTV footage with two bombers shortly before they staged the Brussels airport assault.



    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?