Lawyers drop Defense of suspected Paris attacker


Lawyers defending the  only living suspect in the Paris attacks of last year have resigned from the case because of their clients unwillingness to testify because of the conditions surrounding his detention.

Salah Abdeslam, has been held in solitary confinement since he was captured earlier this year. According to his lawyers, Frank Berton and Sven Mary, Abdeslam does not want to talk and no longer wants legal representation and will use his right to remain silent.

Frank Berton, lawyer of Salah Abdeslam
Frank Berton, lawyer of Salah Abdeslam

“We are convinced, and he told us so, that he will not talk and will use his right to remain silent. What can we do? I have said it from the beginning: if my client remains silent, I drop his defence,” Berton said.

The attacks in Paris last November on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the Stade de France killed 129 people. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks.  Salah Abdeslam was arrested in Brussels in March and has kept silent since his transfer to France in April.

He is being monitored 24 hours a day by video in his prison cell. Mr Berton said in May the suspect was “particularly disturbed” by the surveillance.

Abdeslam is suspected to have played a key role in the planning of the Paris attacks and is suspected of transporting the attackers but  investigators are yet to determine his specific role.

The lawyers informed Abdeslam they would no longer represent him on 6 October. At the moment, he does not want to be represented by anyone else.

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