Ten suspects in Brussels attacks come before people’s jury | NOW



Ten of the thirteen suspects in the attacks in Brussels on March 22, 2016 have to stand before a people’s jury. Three of them will be excluded from prosecution, a special court in Brussels has ruled on Tuesday.

In the attacks on the national airport at Zaventem and metro station Maalbeek in Brussels, 32 civilians were killed and 340 injured. Three terrorists also died.

The Belgian Public Prosecution Service (OM) had asked for two suspects, who allegedly offered shelter to the terrorists, to be referred to the criminal court, with professional judges.

But the court also sends these two brothers to the so-called assize court, where a civilian jury decides on the question of guilt about the most serious crimes, such as (attempted) murder and manslaughter.

Abdeslam and ‘man in the hat’ among suspects

The most famous suspect is Salah Abdeslam, a Belgian-born Frenchman who is considered the only surviving terrorist of the Paris attacks, four months before the one in Brussels. Abdeslam was arrested in Brussels four days before the attacks in Belgium, but both attacks are said to have been the work of the same cell of IS terrorists.

Mohamed Abrini, the ‘man in the hat’ who ran away after the attack at Brussels Airport after his bomb had not gone off and was filmed by security cameras, must also appear before the public jury. He is also said to have been involved in the attacks in Paris.

OM: Mega process unworkable with civilians

The Public Prosecution Service has warned that the procedure with summoned citizens for the mega process threatens to become unworkable. The trial requires 12 jurors and 24 alternates to free themselves for six to nine months.

There are at least 700 civil parties such as victims of the attacks, relatives of those killed and other people who say they have been harmed by the attacks.

The Belgian process is expected to start at the end of 2021. A special, temporary courthouse has been set up for this purpose on the site of the former NATO headquarters in the Belgian capital.

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