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Europe

Trial of Paris attacks suspect postponed until February

media Salah Abdeslam

A Belgian court on Monday delayed until February the trial of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam over a shooting in Brussels that led to his capture.

Abdeslam, the sole surviving suspect in the November 2015 Paris attacks which left 130 people dead, had been due to face trial in the Belgian capital this week.

But following an application last week by Abdeslam's lawyer Sven Mary, the court on Monday ruled the trial would start on Monday February 5 and run until the Friday, with Wednesday as a rest day.

Abdeslam and Sofian Ayari, also implicated in the shootout, face charges of "attempting to murder several police officers in a terrorist context" and "carrying prohibited weapons in a terrorist context".

Both men were captured days after the March 15, 2016 shootout, ending a four-month manhunt for Abdeslam for his alleged role in the Paris attacks.

The 28-year-old is linked to the same cell that carried out suicide bombings in Brussels a week after the gunbattle. Thirty-two people were killed at Brussels airport and a metro station near the EU's headquarters.

Abdeslam, born in Brussels of Moroccan origin, has spent nearly 20 months in isolation, under 24-hour video surveillance, at a prison in the Paris region since his transfer to France in April last year.

He has refused to cooperate with investigators and his offer to appear at the Brussels trial came as a surprise.

The hearings are a highly-anticipated chance to see if he has changed his mind about keeping silent.

(AFP)

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