Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam tests positive for Covid-19

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Salah Abdeslam, the main defendant in the trial of the 13 November 2015 attacks has tested positive for Covid-19, calling into question whether the court hearings will resume on schedule.

The only survivor of the jihadist group who killed 130 people in Paris and Saint-Denis in 2015, is being held for the duration of the hearing in the Fleury-Merogis prison south of the French capital.

Believed to be the largest prison in Europe, a total of 21 inmates have reportedly tested positive for Covid-19 as of 24 December.

Nationwide, 370 of the estimated 70,000 prisoners have been infected with the coronavirus.

Unclear whether trial will resume on time

Salah Abdeslam has been incarcerated under a strict regime of isolation, alone in a cell equipped with a 24-hour video surveillance system.

The 2015 attacks trial, which opened last September, is due to resume on 4 January after a two-week break.

When asked whether a postponement of the hearing would be requested, one of Salah Abdeslam's lawyers, Olivia Ronen, could not immediately respond.

The special court is trying a total of 20 defendants, including 14 present at the hearing, suspected of varying degrees of involvement in the preparation of the deadliest jihadist attacks ever perpetrated in France.

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