Brother urges Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam to speak

Brother urges Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam to speak

Mohamed Abdeslam, the brother of two men who helped carry out terrorist attacks in Paris, places remembrance candles outside the family's flat in Brussels' Molenbeek district on 18 November 2015Image copyright
AFP

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Two of Mohamed Abdeslam’s siblings participated in last November’s bloody attacks, but he had no involvement

The brother of the main surviving suspect in last November’s jihadist attacks in Paris has called on his jailed sibling to speak.

Last week two lawyers said they could no longer represent Saleh Abdeslam, as he was remaining silent and refusing to co-operate with the investigation.

“I ask my brother to speak,” Mohamed Abdeslam told France’s RTL Radio.

He said he wanted to know “exactly what had happened before and after” the attacks in which 130 people died.

So-called Islamic State said it was behind the co-ordinated assaults on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the Stade de France.

Salah Abdeslam – described as the sole surviving member of the group – was arrested in Brussels in March and has kept silent since his transfer to France in April.

Mohamed Abdeslam said his brother had withdrawn into himself and he had the impression that he was even more radicalised than before.

“During my visits to Belgium, I really saw a Salah Abdeslam who was ready to talk. A few months later, it feels like I am looking at another person. I can confirm that Salah is more withdrawn, more closed now,” the suspect’s sibling added.

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Unknown

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Salah Abdeslam, left, is in a French prison while his brother Brahim blew himself up during the attacks

“His incarceration, the extremely difficult conditions of his detention, his withdrawal into himself; I sometimes have the impression he is more radicalised now, rather than de-radicalised,” said Mohamed Abdeslam, who has visited his brother in prison every three months.

He said he was aware that Salah Abdeslam’s silence was particularly hard for the families of the victims, and that it would be “a disappointment for us all” if he refused to testify at his trial.

Salah Abdeslam’s refusal to co-operate is said in part to stem from anger at the conditions in which he is being held – and particularly being under 24-hour video surveillance, his former lawyers have said.

He is thought to have played a key role in planning the Paris attacks and transporting the attackers, but investigators are yet to determine his specific role.

Another Abdeslam sibling, Brahim, blew himself up in the attacks.

Brother urges Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam to speak

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