The Saga of Salah Abdeslam: France’s Third-Party Appeal and the Battle for His Return

2023-12-12 17:40:00

The saga surrounding the fate of Salah Abdeslam has undergone a new development. France filed a third-party appeal against the judgment of the Brussels Court of Appeal, rendered on October 3 in summary proceedings, which temporarily prohibited the return of Salah Abdeslam to France.

In June 2022, the Paris Assize Court sentenced Salah Abdeslam to irreducible life imprisonment for the attacks of November 13, 2015 in Paris. Through an agreement, France then temporarily handed him over to Belgium to be tried for the attacks of March 22, 2016 in Brussels. In September 2023, the Brussels Assize Court did not impose any additional sentences. She referred to the 20-year sentence handed down for the shooting in Rue du Dries.

Salah Abdeslam does not want to return to France. His lawyers filed a summary judgment, citing the fact that a return to France, with its irreducible life sentence, was tantamount to inhuman and degrading treatment. He was dismissed at first instance but won his appeal on October 3. The court of appeal therefore prohibited its handover to France. This is only an interim decision: the ban is only temporary, pending examination of the merits of the case. A date for pleadings will be set after May 3, 2024, the last day for the exchange of conclusions.

In this case, examined in summary proceedings, France was not a party to the case. His point of view was therefore not heard. Believing that she had her say, she filed a third-party appeal before the Brussels Court of Appeal, we learned from her lawyer, President Jean-Pierre Buyle. “We believe that the court of appeal did not correctly apply French law,” he explained Tuesday to our colleagues at La Libre.

A first hearing was held on Monday December 11. A timetable for exchanging conclusions has been set. The case will be pleaded, in summary proceedings upon third party opposition, on February 12.

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