Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam refuses to reappear at trial

He accused the court of bias against Muslims during the first day of his trial

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam refuses to reappear at trial

Police guard the outside at trial of Salah Abdeslam at the Brussels Justice Palace in Brussels. Picture by: Virginia Mayo/AP/Press Association Images

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam is refusing to reappear at his trial, a court official says.

The Belgian-born French national - the only surviving suspect of the 2015 atrocity - has cut a defiant figure in previous hearings, refusing to stand for the judge or answer questions about the bloody gun battle that led to his arrest.

Abdeslam is being tried at the Palais de Justice in Brussels, accused of "attempted murder in a terrorist context".

He accused the court of bias against Muslims during the first day of his trial on Monday.

After arriving under heavy police escort, he told the hearing: "I am accused, so I am here. My silence does not make me a criminal or guilty. That is my defence and I am defending myself by remaining silent.

"Judge me. Do as you want with me. It is in my Lord that I place my trust. I am not afraid of you."

The 28-year-old has refused to speak to investigators since he was arrested in March 2016.

His insistence on attending the trial had raised hope that he might break his silence on the attacks in November 2015.

Bars, restaurants and a music hall in the French capital were targeted, with 130 people losing their lives.

Luc Hennart, a senior official at the Palais de Justice, said Abdeslam had informed the court that he does not wish to appear at the next hearing, which is scheduled for Thursday.

He is not required to attend the trial in Brussels, and is currently being held in solitary confinement at a prison in France.

Abdeslam was Europe's most wanted fugitive when he was captured - and four days after he was arrested, the Islamic State network linked to the Paris attacks struck Brussels, killing another 32 people.

Although he has not been charged over the Brussels bombings, officials believe he was linked to the three attackers involved. They also allege the cell brought forward the attack as they feared Abdeslam would reveal their plans while under interrogation.

His refusal to co-operate with the trial on Monday frustrated those whose relatives died in the attacks.

Philippe Duperron, whose son was killed at the Bataclan music hall, said: "Not only did he say he is retreating into silence but he is clearly trying to provoke people by saying he believes only in his god."