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    Abdeslam succeeds in communicating with other prisoners

    © Belga
    It transpires that Abdeslam was not in complete isolation.
    © Belga

    Salah Abdeslam, the key suspect in the November 13th Paris attacks, succeeded in speaking with other prisoners, despite supposedly being in isolation. The Minister of Justice, Jean-Jacques Urvoas, acknowledged this yesterday (Sunday), stating that arrangements had then been made for those he had been communicating with to move to other prisons.

    Speaking on “Grand rendez-vous” on Europe1, iTELE and Les Échos, (a broadcast undertaken by all three organisations as a joint commercial venture), he said Abdeslam was detained in isolation from April 27th “at Fleury-Mérogis (in the southern suburbs of Paris).”

    He said, “This is an extensive remand prison where there are 4,366 prisoners, despite there only being half the reasonable capacity available for them.”

    He confirmed, “Each time there was (on Abdeslam’s part) a temptation to start a conversation with a neighbour, (…) it always transpired that the individual with whom he had tried to talk, for however brief a moment, was immediately transferred to another prison.”

    Mr Urvoas stressed that these neighbours, with whom Abdeslam had attempted to strike up a rapport, were in a “location away from him, since naturally all around him the cells were empty,”

    He went on, “Although there is plexiglas (at the window) prohibiting him from reaching the outside of his cell he can – I imagine – by raising his voice” make his voice heard by another prisoner.

    He further added, “Very unfortunately, what’s done is done and cannot be undone.”

    Charged for terrorist attacks and a key suspect in the Paris attacks which caused 130 deaths, he mentioned that Abdeslam was put under 24-hour video surveillance.

    The Ministry of Justice recently indicated to the AFP (Agence France Presse) that a “disciplinary procedure was undertaken against Salah Abdeslam in September 2016.”

    The above procedural information was given out, without indicating the events it was linked to.

    Moreover, questioned in the case of Farouk Ben Abbes, a Belgo-Tunisian, aged 31, who was given accommodation in Toulouse after November 13th attacks, and whom the press revealed was in receipt of RSA, the Minister acknowledged “an error” of the Ministry of Justice in this case.

    “I have now initiated a procedure to recover sums which were wrongfully paid to Farouk Ben Abbes,” he indicated.

    Farouk Ben Abbes “was questioned for associating with terrorists,” he explained.

    He went on, “We must see this procedure through.”

    He further elaborated “One of two routes is available now. He is convicted and placed in prison and will not receive RSA. Alternatively, he is not convicted, but he is, however, deported and will not receive RSA.”

    Moreover, Jean-Jacques Urvoas indicated that there are currently some 340 individuals in detention for terrorism-related offences, imprisoned in some 50 establishments, and that around 1,300 individuals are considered as radicalised.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times