Brussels attacks: Salah Abdeslam will be extradited to France

The hearing at the council chamber that would consider the French request under a European arrest warrant has become redundant because of his agreement to be handed over to France. This stated the federal prosecution office on Thursday (31 March) and confirmed what a colleague of the suspect’s lawyer had said after leaving the court.

Given Abdeslam’s consent, he still had to be heard by a federal judge for the agreement to be formalized in a protocol. This happened on Thursday in the prison in Bruges where he had been held according to the prosecutor.

This protocol makes the arrest warrant an automatically enforceable decision. The council chamber will nevertheless issue an order approving the extradition on Friday.

The Belgian and French authorities will then decide about the terms of the extradition, says the federal prosecutor. According to the suspect’s lawyer, this could happen very quickly.

As previously reported in media Abdeslam was interrorogated for only one hour by Belgian police and not on imminent threats in Brussels. Politico (29 March) has included this in a list of 12 blunders such as "insufficient resources, missed signals, failure to pass on information and complacency". 

The impression is that Belgian legislation is not adapted to deal with suspected terrorists. Abdeslam was  treated as a common criminal and allowed to spend more time with his lawyer than the police investigators and the legal proceedings focused on the conditions for his extradition.

The Brussels Times (Source: Belga)

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