Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam to go to court in Belgium

The last surviving suspect from the 2015 Paris terror attacks has arrived in a Belgium court to face trial over the shootout shortly before his arrest in 2016

The last surviving suspected member of the Jihadi group responsible of the 2015 Paris terror attacks has arrived at Belgian court to face trail over the shootout that led to his arrest.

Salah Abdeslam will make his first appearance in court accused of the attempted murder of police officers after a shootout in Brussels in March 2016.

He was captured in Brussels four months after the Paris attacks.

Abdeslam, 28, fled Paris after the November 2015 attacks in the French capital that killed 130 people and injured hundreds more.

Among the attackers was Abdeslam's brother, Brahim, who died in a suicide blast outside a cafe.

He is awaiting trial in France on charges of murder linked to a terrorist organisation.

French prosecutors believe Salah Abdeslam, 28, also played a key role in the attacks but he has refused to co-operate with investigators.

French security services say this week’s trial will reveal whether Abdeslam is prepared to finally cooperate with the investigation into the attacks. So far he has refused to speak, prompting his French and Belgian lawyers to resign in frustration, saying his silence made any defence impossible.

Up to 200 police will be guarding the courthouse for the trial, which is expected to last four days.

Sven Mary, his Belgian lawyer, has agreed to represent Abdeslam in court this week where he will face charges of “attempted murder of police officers linked to terrorism”. If found guilty they face up to 40 years in prison.

However, he is not expected to go on trial in France until 2020 at the earliest.

Abdeslam, a French citizen born to Moroccan parents in Brussels, has been held at a jail near Paris. He left the prison under armed guard early on Monday, accompanied by a convoy of tactical police vehicles. He will return to France every night during the trial, but will be held at another jail just across the border.

In a letter believed to have been written by Abdeslam and discovered on the hard-drive of a laptop computer discarded in a bin just before the Brussels bombings, he writes that he had intended to die with his “brothers” in the Paris attacks, but his suicide vest failed to explode.

In the letter, Abdeslam wrote: “Of course I wanted to be among the shahid [martyrs]. Allah decided otherwise … I succeeded in joining the remaining brothers because there was a fault in my [suicide] vest.”

After his arrest in Belgium, however, Abdeslam told police he had dumped the vest after changing his mind about blowing himself up.

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