Belgian judge approves extradition of Paris attacks suspect



A Belgian court on Thursday approved the extradition to France of Paris attacks suspect Mohamed Abrini. But the timeline of his extradition is uncertain as he is also under investigation for the 22 March Brussels attacks.


Federal prosecutors said the court in Brussels, after hearing a French extradition request for Abrini, accepted the European arrest warrant issued against him which would allow for his transfer to France.

At the same time, the court remanded Abrini in jail for another month as he is also a suspect in the deadly Brussels airport and metro attacks on 22 March, a statement said.

The "man in the hat"

Abrini, 31, was arrested in Brussels shortly after those attacks, having been identified as the "man in the hat" seen in CCTV footage with the two bombers who blew themselves up at the airport.

"Currently, no additional information will be given regarding the further proceedings," the statement said.

The federal prosecutors' office added that "the carrying out of the (European arrest warrant) will certainly not be done immediately. The timeline is not at all fixed."

It is even possible that Abrini could stand trial in Belgium first before being handed over to France, the spokesman said.

Alternatively, he could be sent to France to assist in the investigation into the November Paris attacks claimed by the Islamic State group that left 130 people dead.

Another key suspect linked to both the Paris and Brussels killings,Salah Abdeslam, was extradited to France in April.

Abrini was linked to the Paris massacre after being caught on video at a motorway gas station on the way to the French capital with Abdeslam.

Abdeslam, a French national of Moroccan origin who grew up in Belgium, is believed to be the last surviving member of the terror squad that hit cafes, a concert hall and the national stadium in Paris on November 13.