The only surviving suspect in last November’s attacks on Paris is facing an anti-terrorism judge for interrogation Thursday, after refusing past questioning in frustration at 24-hour video surveillance of his prison cell.
Authorities hope Salah Abdeslam can provide information about the Islamic State group’s strategies and networks, and identify others who might have had a connection to the Nov. 13 attacks, which killed 130 people.
Abdeslam’s lawyer Franck Berton, arriving for the hearing, did not indicate whether his client was ready to talk to investigators this time. A helicopter circled over the Palace of Justice in central Paris as a convoy carrying Abdeslam arrived.
He kept silent at a hearing in May, and refused to attend a hearing in July. Berton argued that two round-the-clock video cameras in Abdeslam’s cell in Fleury-Merogis prison could cause psychological damage, but France’s top administrative authority struck down the lawyer’s request to remove them. Judicial authorities argue the surveillance is needed to ensure he doesn’t commit suicide.
Abdeslam, 26, initially said he wanted to explain his path to radicalization and his role in the Nov. 13 attacks on the Bataclan concert hall, cafes and the national stadium. The other attackers died in suicide bombings or under police fire.
Abdeslam’s precise role in the attacks has never been clear. The Paris prosecutor has said he was equipped as a suicide bomber that night, but abandoned his plans and fled.
Abdeslam evaded police for four months, but was arrested in March in the Brussels neighborhood where he grew up. He was later extradited to France and handed several preliminary terrorism charges.