Nicolas Maeterlinck

Brussels attacks trial: defendants appear in court to identify themselves

Jurors are being selected for the trial of those held responsible for the Brussels terror attacks in 2016.  Defendants also briefly appeared in court this morning to identify themselves.  The trial proper starts on Monday.

The trial is being held at NATO’s former HQ where a courtroom and special facilities have been created.

The court will try those held responsible for the Brussels attacks on 22 March 2016.  A first bomb exploded in the departure hall at Brussels Airport at 7:58 AM.  Shortly afterwards it is followed by a second explosion.

The second attack occurs an hour later on a metro carriage at Maalbeek Station where there isa further explosion.

In all 32 people are killed as well as 3 terrorists.  Hundreds of people are injured.

Ten defendants will appear before the Brussels court of assises.  The most notorious are Salah Abdeslam and Mohamed Abrini (known as the “Man in the Hat”).  One defendant, Oussama Atar, wasn’t present at proceedings this morning and is believed to have been killed in Syria.

Defendants Smail and Ibrahim Farisi appear as free men.  All 7 other defendants will have to sit in specially constructed glass cubicles. They have let it be known they do not wish to be filmed.  Each in turn was asked to identify himself this morning.  One defendant, Osama Krayem, refused to co-operate and seemed impervious to proceedings.

The trial will be held in French with translations into Arabic, English and Dutch.

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