Salah captured
Salah Abdeslam was captured in a hail of bullets on Friday 18 March 2016 Police handout/Reuters

Salah Abdeslam, who is accused of wreaking havoc on the streets of Paris in November's Islamic State attacks, refused to speak at his first hearing before a French court.

Abdeslam, who was captured just days before members of the same cell carried out a second attack in Brussels, travelled to central Paris from his high-security prison on the outskirts of the city to appear before the court.

However, the hearing was suspended after the last Paris attacker left alive made it clear he would not answer any questions placed to him.

"From the start he made clear he would be exercising his right to silence, refusing to respond to questions from the judge," a spokesman from the prosecutor's office said in a message to Reuters news agency.

Abdeslam was captured in Belgium following a four-month manhunt that saw him described as "the most wanted man in Europe" following the attacks, in which Abdeslam's brother Brahim detonated a bomb in a suicide attack at a café.

But the 26-year-old, who had allegedly planned to carry out his suicide attack at a sports stadium, is said to have got cold feet, changing his mind at the last minute and reportedly dumping his suicide vest before fleeing the country.

Abdeslam's lawyer had said he would speak at the hearing, following his extradition from Belgium on 27 April. The Belgian-born Frenchman was described by his lawyer, Sven Mary, as a "little moron from Molenbeek, more a follower than a leader. He has the intelligence of an empty ashtray".

"I asked him if he had read the Quran, and he replied that he had looked up what it meant on the internet. A year and a half ago he was clubbing in Amsterdam. The only explanation I can find is that it was internet propaganda that gave the impression that Muslims were unfairly treated," Mary added.