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Abdeslam extradition suspended, not called into question, says minister

The extradition of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam from Belgium has been suspended but is not called into question, according to the French justice minister.

Jean-Jacques Urvoas said the delay is due to "the requirements of the investigation in Belgium" concerning another case - a deadly police raid in the Forest neighbourhood of Brussels days before Abdeslam's arrest.

French judges still have the possibility of requesting Abdeslam's "temporary transfer" to France so he can be questioned and charged, the statement from Mr Urvoas said.

Abdeslam fled to Belgium after the November 13 attacks on Paris and was arrested on March 18. Since then he has been in prison in the Belgian city of Bruges.

He faces preliminary terrorism charges for the Paris attacks which killed 130 people.

The Belgian procedure "does not in any way hamper the course of investigations in France", Mr Urvoas stressed.

Abdeslam's lawyer Sven Mary said on Thursday that it will take weeks before his client can be extradited from Belgium. He added that the existing Belgian arrest warrant must be lifted first.


From Belfast Telegraph