The lawyers of Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect of the Paris attacks of November 2015, have decided to no longer defend him. He was arrested from Molenbleek in Brussels, a hotbed for Islamic terrorism on March 18, after being on run for four months. He was transferred to France from Belgium in April, and has been quiet since then.
“We both decided to give up his defence. We don’t think that he will speak and he will use the right to remain silent,” said lawyer Frank Berton in a joint interview with fellow lawyer Sven Mary to BFM TV.
“In this position what would you like us to do. We said from the beginning that if our client remained silent we would quit his defence,” Berton added. “When you have the feeling of being there to make social visits to the prison, that is the moment when a decision has to be made,” added Mary.
Berton had previously informed that Abdeslam was being ‘driven crazy’ by the 24-hours-a-day camera monitoring in his high-security jail. His lawyers informed him that they would no longer represent him on October 6, and he does not want to be represented by anyone else, BFM T reported. Legal representation is not required during the investigation, but it will be at his trial.
This comes after Abdeslam continued his choice of silence and continued to avoid answering the questions. He arrived in France jail to face terror charges on April 27, to have played a key role in planning the Paris attacks and transporting the attackers, but his role isn’t clear yet. Investigators have to still pin down the exact role of Abdeslam in the coordinated attacks on Paris bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium in November 2015 in which 130 people were killed.
The attacks in Paris on the night of Friday November 13 by gunmen and suicide bombers at multiple locations across Paris was an ‘act of war’ organized by the Islamic State (IS) militant group, according to French President Francois Hollande.