January 22, 2016 / 3:06 PM / in 2 years

Belgium charges Paris attack suspect

Belgian soldiers stand guard in front of the Brussels' Palace of Justice, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium charged a man detained this week with terrorist offences linked to the Paris attacks and released another held for three weeks due to lack of evidence, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

A judge determined that Zakaria J., born in 1986 and detained on Wednesday, should be kept in custody for a further week on charges of terrorist murder and participation in the activities of a terrorist group.

A second man detained this week, Mustafa E., was released.

A Belgian court also ordered on Friday the release from custody of one of 10 people previously charged with involvement in the Paris attacks due to insufficient evidence against him.

Ayoub Bazarouj, 22, was detained after a search of his house on Dec. 30 and charged the next day with terrorist murder and participation in a terrorist organization. Bazarouj’s lawyer Yannick De Vlaemynck said he had been freed without conditions.

Many of those being held in Belgium are charged with having aided Salah Abdeslam, a former Brussels resident who was in Paris on the night of the Nov. 13 attacks in which 130 people were killed.

“He knew of Salah Abdeslam as he lived in the area, but he was not a friend and there are no elements showing that he provided help in any way,” De Vlaemynck said.

Belgium has been at the heart of investigations into the attacks as four of the Paris suicide bombers had either been living in Belgium or were Belgian-Moroccans. Belgian investigators are also looking for two fugitives, notably Abdeslam, whose brother was one of the suicide attackers.

Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop and Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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