Salah Abdeslam was secretly extradited to France from a Belgian prison in Brussels on April 27, 2016. Abdeslam, 26, is a Belgian-born French national of Moroccan ancestry. He was allegedly involved in the attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015 that claimed 130 lives and left a significant amount of others severely wounded.
Abdeslam’s ex-fiancée stated in questioning that after his childhood friend Abdelhamid Abaaoud returned from terrorist activities in Syria, Abdeslam started to become more and more radicalized. From then until the attacks in November 2015, he planned out the attacks carefully, traveling to six countries to recruit individuals that would assist him in the plot. Abdeslam also hired the cars, the flats, and the hotel rooms that hosted the terrorists.
Following the attacks, Abdeslam made numerous phone calls in an attempt to have his associates drive him out of Paris. On his way to Brussels after the attack his car was stopped, but was allowed to continue because there was no evidence of his involvement in the attacks at the time; 15 minutes later, Abdeslam’s data was uploaded onto the police systems.
The “manhunt” for Abdeslam began the day following the attacks; on November 15, French and Belgian authorities released his photo and name. His brother, Mohammed, televised a message to his brother, pleading him to turn himself in if he was involved. Abdeslam stayed in hideouts – mostly flats of friends and family – throughout Brussels. He was captured and arrested on March 18, 2016, in a police raid of his cousin’s home in Brussels, during which he was shot in the leg and was taken to and treated at Saint Peter’s Hospital in Brussels for 8 hours.
After evading capture for 126 days, he was moved to Brussels’ police headquarters and charged, and was transferred to a maximum security prison on the night of March 19. Following a request by French authorities for his transfer, Belgium’s federal prosecutor said Abdeslam had been “surrendered to the French authorities this morning.” In France, he is held in custody at Fleury-Merogis, Europe’s biggest jail just south of Paris. He has officially been charged with murder, association with a terrorist group, possession of weapons and explosives as well as sequestration over the hostage-taking during the Paris attacks.