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Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam's Belgian trial to be postponed

The courtroom in which Salah Abdeslam and Sofian Ayari are due to appear ERIC LALMAND / BELGA / AFP

The Belgian trial of Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam, due to start next Monay, is likely to be put off on the request of his lawyer, a court official said Wednesday.

Abdeslam was due to face trial next week along with his accomplice Sofian Ayari for his role in the Brussels shootout several days before the pair's eventual arrest.

But Luc Hennart, the top official at the court, has confirmed that Abdeslam's lawyer Sven Mary has requested postponement and said it is "highly likely" the request will be granted.

There will be a hearing with only lawyers present on Monday and the call will "logically be accepted", an anonymous source told the AFP news agency.

Belgian broadcaster RTBF reported on its website that Abdeslam's transfer from France "has been cancelled".

The Belgian federal prosecutor's office has declined to comment on the development.

Terrorism, murder charges

Abdeslam and Ayari face charges of "attempting to murder several police officers in a terrorist context" and "carrying prohibited weapons in a terrorist context".

Several police officers were wounded and another alleged accomplice of Abdeslam killed in the gun battle.

Abdeslam, 28, is the sole survivor from the Paris attackers, whose killing spree claimed 130 lives.

He is believed to be linked to the same cell that carried out suicide bombings in Brussels a week after the gun battle, killing 32 people.

He has spent nearly 20 months in isolation, under 24-hour surveillance, in a prison near Paris after being handed over to the French authorities in April 2016.