Belgian trial delayed for Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam: court

Brussels (AFP) –


The Belgian trial of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, which was scheduled to begin on Monday in Brussels, has been delayed, the court said Friday.

Abdeslam, the sole surviving suspect of the November 2015 Paris attacks, was due to go on trial over a shooting in the Belgian capital that led to his capture.

But the court said it agreed to set a new date at Monday's hearing following an application by Abdeslam's lawyer Sven Mary.

Abdeslam and Sofian Ayari, also implicated in the shootout, were set to stand trial on charges of "attempting to murder several police officers in a terrorist context" and "carrying prohibited weapons in a terrorist context".

Both Abdeslam and Ayari were captured days after the March 15, 2016 shootout, ending a four-month manhunt for Abdeslam for his alleged role in the Paris attacks that left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded.

Abdeslam, 28, is linked to the same cell that carried out suicide bombings in Brussels a week after the gun battle. Thirty-two people were killed at Brussels airport and a metro station near the EU's headquarters.

Abdeslam, born in Brussels of Moroccan origin, has spent nearly 20 months in isolation, under 24-hour video surveillance, at a prison in the Paris region since his transfer to French authorities in April last year.