The leading suspect in the Paris terror attacks refused to speak as he was questioned for the first time in France today. Salah Abdeslam was brought under tight security to a courthouse in Paris to be interrogated by judges, But the 26-year-old, thought to be the sole survivor of the terror cell which killed 130 in the French capital in November, declined to answer their questions and the hearing was cut short. His silence dashed investigators' hopes that his testimony would shed new light on the Islamic State group’s strategies in Europe.
From the start he made clear he would be exercising his right to silence, refusing to respond to questions from the judge
Abdeslam is thought to have played a key role in planning the Paris attacks and transporting the attackers. But, after deciding not to activate his own suicide vest, he fled to Belgium where he was captured in March. The Belgian-born Frenchman was placed under formal investigation on terrorism and murder charges in France on April 27 after his extradition. At the time, he indicated he was willing to talk to judges about his own path to radicalisation. But after he stayed silent on Friday, his lawyer, Frank Berton, said: “He did not want to say anything.”
He could help if he collaborates, either to confirm elements of the investigation, or to give fresh leads. However, we should not hang on his every word and wait for any sensational revelations
Gérard Chemla, a lawyer for victims’ families