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updated: 2/5/2018 10:28 AM

Paris attacks suspect refuses questions at shootout trial

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  • In this courtroom sketch, Salah Abdeslam appears at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Petra Urban via AP)

    In this courtroom sketch, Salah Abdeslam appears at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Petra Urban via AP)
    Associated Press

  • In this courtroom sketch, Soufiane Ayari appears at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Petra Urban via AP)

    In this courtroom sketch, Soufiane Ayari appears at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Petra Urban via AP)
    Associated Press

  • A general view of the courtroom prior to the trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Emmanuel Dunand, Pool Photo via AP)

    A general view of the courtroom prior to the trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Emmanuel Dunand, Pool Photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • A police convoy carrying Salah Abdeslam and other members of the trial arrives under police guard at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.

    A police convoy carrying Salah Abdeslam and other members of the trial arrives under police guard at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.
    Associated Press

  • A police convoy carrying Salah Abdeslam and other members of the trial arrives under police guard at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.

    A police convoy carrying Salah Abdeslam and other members of the trial arrives under police guard at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.
    Associated Press

  • Police guard the outside a trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.

    Police guard the outside a trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.
    Associated Press

  • A police convoy carrying Salah Abdeslam and other members of the trial arrives under police guard at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.

    A police convoy carrying Salah Abdeslam and other members of the trial arrives under police guard at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.
    Associated Press

  • Police guard as they await a convoy carrying Salah Abdeslam and other members of the trial arrives under police guard at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.

    Police guard as they await a convoy carrying Salah Abdeslam and other members of the trial arrives under police guard at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.
    Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Friday Nov. 13, 2015 file photo a victim under a blanket lays dead outside the Bataclan theater in Paris. Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the 10-man Islamic State cell that attacked Paris in November 2015, is going on trial on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 in Belgium. The trial covers a shootout that led to his capture in March 2016.

    FILE - In this Friday Nov. 13, 2015 file photo a victim under a blanket lays dead outside the Bataclan theater in Paris. Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the 10-man Islamic State cell that attacked Paris in November 2015, is going on trial on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 in Belgium. The trial covers a shootout that led to his capture in March 2016.
    Associated Press

  • Belgian lawyer Sven Mary arrives for the trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Emmanuel Dunand, Pool Photo via AP)

    Belgian lawyer Sven Mary arrives for the trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Emmanuel Dunand, Pool Photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Belgian lawyer Sven Mary, right, and lawyer Romain Delcoigne, left, attend the trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Emmanuel Dunand, Pool Photo via AP)

    Belgian lawyer Sven Mary, right, and lawyer Romain Delcoigne, left, attend the trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Emmanuel Dunand, Pool Photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Belgian judge Marie-France Keutgen presides over the trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Danny Gys, Pool Photo via AP)

    Belgian judge Marie-France Keutgen presides over the trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked. (Danny Gys, Pool Photo via AP)
    Associated Press

  • Belgian lawyer Sven Mary talks with journalists as he leaves the court room after the morning session during the trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.

    Belgian lawyer Sven Mary talks with journalists as he leaves the court room after the morning session during the trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Salah Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari face trial for taking part in a shooting incident in Vorst, Belgium on March 15, 2016. The incident took place when six members of a Franco-Belgian research team investigating the attacks in Paris were conducting a search in an allegedly empty safe house of the terrorists and were attacked.
    Associated Press

 
 

BRUSSELS -- The only surviving member of the Islamic State cell that killed 130 people in Paris appeared in public Monday for the first time since his arrest and rejected the legitimacy of a Belgian court by refusing to rise or answer questions at his trial.

Salah Abdeslam is facing attempted murder charges in Brussels from a police shootout four months after the Paris attacks. Abdeslam fled while another man sprayed automatic gunfire and was killed. He was captured a few days later in the same neighborhood where he and many of his Islamic State fighter colleagues grew up.

Abdeslam arrived in the Belgian capital on Monday morning after being transferred from a prison in France. Security was high at the Brussels courthouse, with armed guards and multiple checkpoints leading to the courtroom.

"I do not wish to respond to any questions. I was asked to come. I came," said Abdeslam, who stayed seated for most of the hearing, flanked by police in balaclavas. "I defend myself by keeping silent."

Asked why he was refusing to stand, Abdeslam said: "I'm tired, I did not sleep."

Abdeslam, now wearing a full beard and longer hair than in pictures released before his March 18, 2016 arrest, refused to answer questions beyond a few formalities and stared straight ahead for much of the hearing.

"Muslims are judged and treated without pity, there is no presumption of innocence," he said. "I'm not afraid of you, I'm not afraid of your allies. I place my faith in Allah."

He is being tried alongside a second defendant, Sofiane Ayari. The judge's questions Monday were oriented toward establishing which of the two also fired on officers during the shootout.

Federal prosecutors in Belgium are seeking 20-year prison sentences for both men.

Abdeslam has previously refused to speak to investigators in France about the attack there that killed 130. Days after his capture, extremists struck in Brussels. In total, 162 people died in the two attacks.

The trial relates to the 2016 shooting in Brussels, some four months after the Paris attacks. Abdeslam and two suspects were hiding in an apartment when police arrived for a routine search. Three officers were wounded in the shootout that followed and one suspect was killed. Abdeslam was captured a few days later in the flashpoint Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek.

"We want to see what elements will be provided in order to have a better understanding of this series of events and terror attacks, in France and in Belgium," said Guillaume Denoix de Saint Marc, a member of V-Europe, a victims' association.

"This trial is one of the pieces of a global puzzle which will answer some of our questions. But at the same time, we expect to be very disappointed and to learn nothing."

___

Lorne Cook in Brussels and Sam Petrequin in Paris contributed to this report.

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