'Abdeslam transferred to France to avoid release'

Convicted terrorist Salah Abdeslam, previously found guilty of involvement in the 2015 Paris attacks as well as the 2016 Brussels attacks, has been transferred from Belgium to a prison in France to prevent his release, the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement on Wednesday.

Abdeslam left Haren prison in Brussels in the morning to be taken to the border, where he was handed over to the French authorities. This decision was based on an agreement between France and Belgium, according to which Abdeslam would only be transferred to Belgium "for the duration of the Belgian trial", the prosecutor's office said.

In addition, there was a risk that Abdeslam would have to be released as Belgium would no longer have the legal basis to keep him in custody. This option was "unthinkable", the prosecutor said.

To ensure the presence of Abdeslam at the trial over the attacks of 22 March 2016 in Belgium, the Belgian judicial authorities had issued a European arrest warrant for France. In response to this request, the Paris Court of Appeal decided to hand him over temporarily to Belgium for the duration of the Belgian trial.

'Legally irrevocable'

The agreement does not provide for Abdeslam to remain in Belgium for the purposes of other civil proceedings, the federal prosecutor's office said. "Salah Abdeslam's return to France at the end of the criminal proceedings is therefore legally irrevocable," the statement said.

In September 2023, Abdeslam was found guilty of terrorist murder for his involvement in the 2016 attacks on Brussels airport and a Brussels metro station, which left 32 people dead. However, he did not receive an additional sentence. The Brussels court cited the sentence he had already received for his role in the 2015 Paris attacks.


Salah Abdeslam during the trial surrounding the attacks of 22 March 2016 in Brussels © BELGA ILLUSTRATION JONATHAN DE CESARE

Related news

Website preview
2016 Brussels attacks: Three men sentenced to life, no additional punishments for Ayari and Abdeslam
The final session of the Brussels bombings trial took place on Friday evening. The court read out the sentences for the eight defendants, along with the reasons for each decision.

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels