Europe's most wanted man Salah Abdeslam, has been charged with "terrorist murder" by a Belgian court today, 19 March. The main suspect in the Paris terrorist attacks was released from hospital and taken under heavy guard to appear before a judge.
Officially charged with "participation in terrorist murder" and the activities of a terrorist organisation, he reportedly confirmed his name.
The 26-year-old Frenchman's lawyer Sven Mary said earlier today Abdeslam will contest his proposed extradition to France. He added that his client admitted that he was in the French capital on 13 November when 130 people were killed in a series of coordinated shootings and bombings. "He was there," he said.
Abdeslam was captured during a massive police raid in the Molebeek district of Brussels days after his fingerprints were found another flat in the city.
An alleged accomplice named Monir Ahmed Alaaj (aka Amine Choukri), was also wounded and arrested, along with three members of the family hiding them identified as Abid Aberkan, Sihane Aberkan, and Djemila M.
Alaaj was charged alongside Salah with the same offence. A third man faces trial for being a member of a terrorist organisation and aiding and abetting criminals
Djemila M., a woman, was charged with aiding and abetting but was released, the prosecutors said in a statement. A second woman was released without charge.
Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur tweeted that both Alaaj and Abdeslam were discharged from the CHU St Pierre hospital on the morning of 19 March.
France has issued a European arrest warrant for the Abdeslam and antiterrorist judges in Paris are expected to file extradition request in the coming days.
Belgian federal prosecutor Eric Van der Sypt said the process could be delayed if the alleged terrorist decides to talk. "If he starts talking then I presume it will mean he stays longer in Belgium," Van der Sypt said, adding "sooner or later he will be extradited to France".
Abdeslam is believed to have participated in the attacks on cafes. His older brother Brahim was part of the group that was killed in an 18 November 2015 police raid, along with the suspected mastermind of the attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
Brahim activated his suicide vest in the Comptoir Voltaire restaurant. It malfunctioned, only killing him.