Europe

Lawyers for Paris attack suspect quit defending him as he refuses to speak

Paris attacks main suspect Salah Abdeslam's lawyers refuse to defend him anymore

Lawyers representing the main terror suspect of the Paris attacks have quit because of his decision to remain silent. French lawyer Frank Berton and his Belgian colleague Sven Mary said Salah Abdeslam's refusal to speak meant every prison visit was a social one. "We both decided to give up his defence," Mr Berton said in a TV interview. "We don't think that he will speak and he will use the right to remain silent. We said from the beginning ... that if our client remained silent we would quit his defence."

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

Abdeslam lawyer Sven Mary

Abdeslam is the only suspect still alive who is believed to have played a direct role in last November's coordinated attacks at a concert hall, stadium and cafes in which 130 people were killed. After four months on the run, he was arrested in the Molenbeek district of the Belgian capital Brussels in March. But the 27-year-old has refused to answer questions since he was transferred under police escort from Belgium to France to face terror charges. He is believed to be angry about the 24-hour video surveillance in his maximum-security prison cell.

We have seen him slide away. Being watched all the time, with infrared at night, that drives one crazy, and that is a consequence of a political decision

Lawyer Frank Berton
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Salah Abdeslam

Salah Abdeslam(; born 15 September 1989) is a Belgium-born French national of Moroccan descent. He was accused of involvement in the attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015(in which 130 people were killed and 368 others were injured), through providing logistical support for the assailants, driving them to their target locations, and having some involvement in the manufacture of the explosives used.