Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam's lawyers say they will 'no longer defend him'

'The real victims of this are the victims of the Paris attacks. They have a right to know'

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The Independent Online

Lawyers for the only known survivor of a group of Islamist militants who killed 130 people in Paris last November have said they will no longer defend him.

Salah Abdeslam, who has been held in solitary confinement near Paris since he was captured, does not want to talk and no longer wants legal representation, his lawyers have said.

"We are convinced, and he told us so, that he will not talk and will use his right to remain silent. What can we do. I have said it from the beginning, if my client remains silent, I drop his defence," his lawyer Frank Berton said on BFM Television.

Abdeslam has been charged with "participation in terrorist murders" in Paris and for attempted murder in a shoot-out with police in Brussels.

He reportedly told Belgian police he could not bring himself to blow himself up in his allotted mission at the Stade de France.

Mr Berton said the 26-year-old is refusing to talk because of the 24-hour camera monitoring in his high-security jail. 

"We have seen him slide away. Being watched all the time, with infrared at night, that drives one crazy, and that is a consequence of a political decision [to put Abdeslam on continuous monitoring]," he added.

Abdeslam's Belgian lawyer Sven Mary said the solitary confinement was causing Abdeslam to clam up.

"The real victims of this are the victims of the Paris attacks. They have a right to know," he said.

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The suspected Isis militant was previously dubbed an "asshole" with the "intelligence of an ashtray" by Mr Mary.

He said Abdeslam's radicalisation was likely to have occurred online.

Abdeslam's lawyers previously said he had agreed to turn supergrass in a bid to secure a plea bargain. 

He has denied direct involvement in the massacre of 130 people in the French capital on 13 November last year and insisted he only drove others to the locations of the attacks.