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article imageAbdeslam to be handed over to France in 90 days at most: Minister

By AFP     Mar 19, 2016 in World

French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said Saturday that Belgium will hand over top Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam to France in no more than three months.

"The definitive decision... should be taken within 60 days of his arrest or 90 days if he lodges an appeal," Urvoas said in a statement.

Abdeslam's lawyer Sven Mary said in Brussels that he would fight his extradition to France, arguing that "there is still a Belgian investigation that should be carried out."

The French justice ministry said that 90 days was the maximum amount of time it would take for Abdeslam's transfer.

An investigating judge has formally charged Abdeslam with "participation in terrorist murder and participation in the activities of a terrorist organisation," a Belgian prosecutors statement said.

Abdeslam's opposition to his extradition could delay but not prevent his handover to the French authorities on a European Arrest Warrant, which the European Union introduced specifically to speed up extradition cases, legal experts said.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins confirmed to a news conference in Paris that Abdeslam's refusal "does not paralyse but leads to a longer process. The decision... in any case will happen within 90 days."

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