Friday, March 25, 2016
Brussels (AFP) - Key Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam has "invoked his right to silence" and not spoken to investigators since a few brief interviews on Saturday, the day after his dramatic arrest in central Brussels, the federal prosecutor said Friday.
The prosecutor's comment comes after a Belgian minister said Abeslam had stopped talking to investigators since Tuesday's bombings at the city airport and metro.
A statement from the prosecutor said on Friday that that because Abdeslam was wounded in the leg and needed hospital treatment after his March 18 arrest, investigators waited until the following day, Saturday March 19, to question him.
A first round of questioning began at 8:00 am (0700 GMT), lasted two hours and went over the details of the November 13 Paris attacks which left 130 people dead, a statement said.
A second round took place later the same day, with the examining magistrate detailing the grounds of his arrest for about an hour, it said.
The hearing then turned to the European Arrest Warrant issued by the French authorities seeking his extradition to France "but during this last session, Abdeslam invoked his right to silence and has made no further comment", the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor said investigators saw Abdeslam again on Tuesday, immediately after the bomb attacks on Brussels airport and the metro which killed 31 people and wounded some 300.
On this occasion, Abdeslam "refused to make the slightest declaration," the statement said.
Belgian Justice minister Koen Geens earlier told parliament that Abdeslam had stopped cooperating with police.
"The federal prosecutor has just informed me that Salah Abdeslam no longer wants to talk since the attacks on Zaventem and the Brussels metro," Geens told a parliament committee on Friday looking into the attacks.