In Brussels bombings trial, prosecution paints Salah Abdeslam as key player

A new phase of the long trial that the Brussels Assize Court is devoting to the 2016 attacks at Zaventem airport and the Maelbeek metro station should end on Tuesday, June 6, with the end of the prosecutors’ requisitions Federals against the ten defendants. Among this group where key players and followers rub shoulders, Salah Abdeslam knows that his destiny is traced: sentenced to incompressible life imprisonment in Paris, in June 2022, he was also sentenced to twenty years, in Brussels, in 2018 , for a terrorist assassination attempt during the assault on his hideout in Forest, four days before his arrest, on March 18, 2016, in Molenbeek. On March 22, the band he had joined after the attacks of November 13, 2015 in Paris took action.

During this Belgian trial, which will no doubt sign the end of his public appearances, Salah Abdeslam intends to provide at least double proof: that of his radical commitment, and also that of the “manifestation of humanity” that psychiatrists say they have detected in this man who would dream of living, if he could, in a country that practices Sharia but also seems to remain the “little guy from Molenbeek” that he was before becoming radicalized and passing between the too loose meshes of the Belgian police net.

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On his return from Paris, on November 14, 2015, he rubbed shoulders very closely, for nearly four months, with the members of the cell, hidden in two separate dwellings. But his lawyers will argue that he was unaware of the targets that would be targeted since he had been arrested four days earlier. They will have a lot to do to convince the popular jury after the indictment of the prosecutor Paule Somers.

“He strengthened the group’s determination”

The magistrate considered that the accused was probably unaware that the attacks would take place in the metro and at the airport, but that this in no way exculpated him. The obvious intention he had to participate in the attacks should be enough to earn him a third and heavy sentence, according to Somers.

After several hours, she demanded that he be convicted as a co-perpetrator of the Brussels attacks for “premeditated murders and attempted terrorist murders”. Thirty-six murders in total: the prosecution has added four names to the balance sheet of thirty-two victims identified so far. Four people died later and whose deaths were clearly caused, according to the prosecution, by the attacks. Among them, a 23-year-old young woman, who requested euthanasia to escape her psychological suffering deemed incurable.

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