Brussels attacks: Police interrogate Salah Abdeslam for one hour between his arrest and attacks
Friday, 25 March 2016
Terror suspect Salah Abdeslam was questioned for about only one hour between the time of his capture on Friday and the Brussels attacks on Tuesday morning. This writes POLITICO on Thursday and refers to Abdeslam’s lawyer and two sources familiar with the investigation.
According to POLITICO the session on Saturday at a prison in Bruges yielded no information about the imminent threat because the prosecutors started chronologically and focused first on Abdeslam’s involvement in the Paris attacks last November, the sources said.
The Belgian law enforcement officials only briefly questioned Abdeslam because he was still recovering from surgery after being shot in the leg during his apprehension, according to a senior Belgian security official, who asked for anonymity to speak about the investigation.
“He seemed very tired and he had been operated on the day before,” the official said, adding that law enforcement officials did not question him again before Tuesday. “They were not thinking about the possibilities of what happened on Tuesday morning,” said a second source to POLITICO with knowledge of the process.
Sven Mary, the lawyer who represents Abdeslam, confirmed to POLITICO that prosecutors had spoken only briefly with his client between his arrest and the time of the attacks. A spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor, declined to comment.
This latest information adds to the criticism against the Belgian authorities. Abdeslam was captured only after four months in his own neighborhood. And not only was he not treated as the “ticking bomb” he obviously was but the Belgian officials did not even try to interrogate him professionally.
Belgium’s justice and interior ministers acknowledged on Thursday that the Belgian authorities had erred by not acting on the information from Turkey on a Belgian citizen who had been arrested for suspected terrorist activity.
Belgium appears as the weak link in EU’s defense against terrorism and in strong need of support from other EU member states in dealing with its home-grown terrorists after years of neglect of integrating immigrants in neighborhoods such as Molenbeek.