Lawyers for main suspect in 2015 Paris attacks quit

PARIS, Oct. 12 (UPI) — Lawyers for Salah Abdeslam, the last known survivor of the group accused of causing the 2015 Islamist attacks in Paris, abandoned his case.

Abdeslam, 27, has been held in solitary confinement since the incident which killed 130 people, and refuses to talk, prompting one of his attorneys, Frank Berton, to tell France’s BFM Television on Tuesday, “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 defense.”

Abdeslam’s cell at France’s Fleury-Merogis prison is “equipped with a video surveillance system,” and he has a “dedicated supervisory team of experienced supervisors trained for dangerous people,” French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said in April. Berton said Abdeslam refuses to talk because of prison’s monitoring system.

“We have seen him slide away. Being watched all the time, with infrared [cameras] at night, that drives one crazy” Berton said.

Another of Abdeslam’s lawyers, Sven Mary, referred to him as “more of a follower than a leader” after media reports depicted the Belgian-born French national as a mastermind of the deadly terrorist attack which indicated the Syrian civil war had reached Europe. Abdeslam was one of at least 10 people believed to be directly involved in the attack; he is charged with murder and complicity in terrorist murder, possession and use of weapons and explosives, and illegal confinement. After his arrest he agreed to become an informant, but has not offered any evidence.

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