Attacks of November 13, 2015: Salah Abdeslam imprisoned in Belgium where another trial awaits him

Attacks of November 13, 2015: Salah Abdeslam imprisoned in Belgium where he awaits another trial


Two weeks after his irreducible life sentence in France, Salah Abdeslam was transferred from his prison and imprisoned on Wednesday in Belgium where another trial awaits him from October, for the attacks in Brussels March 2016.

The French jihadist, the only member still alive of the commandos which killed 130 people in Paris and Saint-Denis on November 13, 2015, must be tried from October 10 in Brussels for the attacks committed by the same group in the Belgian capital on 22 March 2016.

These attacks which left 32 dead at the airport and in a metro station in Brussels were also claimed by the Islamic State organization.

Extracted Wednesday between 08:00 (06:00 GMT) and 08:30 local time from Fleury-Mérogis prison, south of Paris, to be transferred by plane to Belgium, the 32-year-old Frenchman arrived about three hours later at the Belgian prison in 'Ittre, between Brussels and Charleroi (south), told AFP a source close to the case.

He is to be tried in Brussels in three months with nine other men for the attacks of March 22. The debates could last between “six and eight months” until the summer of 2023, according to the federal prosecutor's office. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 12.

On June 29, after nearly ten months of a “historic” trial in Paris, Salah Abdeslam was sentenced to incompressible life imprisonment by the special assize court in the French capital for his role in the attacks. November 13, 2015. 

He has become the fifth man in France sentenced to life imprisonment, the highest penalty in the criminal code, which makes any possibility of release minimal. 

He did not appeal, making his conviction final.

The court found him guilty of being the “co-perpetrator” of a “single crime scene”: the Stade de France, the machine-gunned Parisian terraces and the Le Bataclan performance hall.

During the trial, he claimed to have “given up” on triggering his explosive belt in a Parisian bar on the evening of the attacks, out of “humanity”.

His 19 co-defendants were sentenced to terms ranging from two years to irreducible life imprisonment (for five of the six defendants tried in their absence, all five presumed dead). None have appealed either. 

Six defendants of November 13 tried in Belgium

At the trial of the Brussels attacks, Salah Abdeslam will be tried alongside five of his co-accused from Paris, including one absent. The four others expected in the box are Mohamed Abrini, the “man in the hat” who had abandoned his trolley of explosives at Zaventem airport on the morning of March 22 before fleeing, the Swede Osama Krayem, the Tunisian Sofien Ayari and Belgian-Moroccan Ali El Haddad Asufi.

Oussama Atar, alleged sponsor of the November 13 attacks, will also be tried in Brussels in absentia, because he is presumed dead in Syria.

Like Abdeslam, the defendants already involved in the Paris trial must be transferred to Belgium. Mohamed Abrini arrived there on Tuesday and was imprisoned in a prison in the country, confirmed one of his lawyers, Stanislas Eskenazi.

In view of the trial, Belgian justice wishes reunite the defendants in the new mega prison of Haren, near Brussels, according to a source familiar with the matter.

But the establishment, still under development, has not yet been handed over to the The prison administration, which is counting on a possible reception of these detainees “normally in September”, added this source. Belgians.

Salah Abdeslam was arrested in Belgium on March 18, 2016, after several months on the run. He was definitively handed over to France under a European arrest warrant a month later. He will return to serve his sentence in France, after the Belgian trial.

Once all his final convictions, it will be legally possible for him to ask to serve his sentence in Belgium, where he grew up and where all his family resides.