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BRUSSELS (AP) — A much-awaited trial involving the lone surviving suspect in the November 2015 extremist massacres in Paris will likely be postponed due to the appointment of a defense lawyer who still has to prepare.
A Belgian official close to the Paris attacks investigation said that Salah Abdeslam, currently held in France, "will not show up. There will be no transfer" to Brussels on Monday for the opening day of the court case. The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because the court still had not commented on the case.
The trial relates to a shooting in 2016 in Brussels, some four months after the Paris attacks in November 2015. Belgian prosecutors allege Abdeslam was involved in the 2016 shooting when police were looking for Abdeslam, who was on the run from France.
Abdeslam linked up with his former lawyer, Sven Mary, only days before he was to stand trial for the 2016 shooting in Brussels.
The Belgian official said that the case will officially open Monday: "Mary will show up. He will ask for a postponement and, as a rule, the postponement is granted."
Abdeslam and two suspects were hiding in an apartment in Brussels when police arrived for a routine search of the flat. Three officers were injured in the shootout that followed and one suspect was killed. Abdeslam was captured a few days later in the flashpoint Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek.
Abdeslam and one suspected accomplice face trial for attempted murder. He was caught soon after and a few days later Brussels was hit by a double extremist attack at the airport and the subway system that killed 32 people.
In France, Abdeslam is also accused of being one of the attackers in the attacks of November 2015, which left 130 people dead. He is currently in prison in France and unlikely to face trial there for several years.
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