Brussels terror trials: Relatives of victims to testify on Monday

Brussels terror trials: Relatives of victims to testify on Monday
Accused Mohamed Abrini and accused Osama Krayem at trial hearing in March 2023. Credit: Belga / Eric Lalmand

The Brussels Court of Assize will hear from the relatives of four victims of the attack in the Maelbeek metro station on Monday in the trial of the March 22, 2016 attacks.

The family of Sabrina Esmael Fazal, a 24-year-old mother of a one-year-old boy, will testify, as will the families of Leopold Hecht, a 20-year-old student, and Loubna Lafquiri, a 34-year-old mother of three young children.

Relatives of Sabrina Esmael Fazal’s relatives, including her partner and her mother. The 24-year-old lived in Wavre with her partner and their baby boy, who was born at the end of 2014. On the morning of 22 March 2016, she was on her way to the Haute École Galilée in Brussels, where she was studying for her first year of nursing. She lost her life in the attack in Maelbeek.

The court will then hear from a ULB student who was seriously injured in that attack.

On Monday afternoon a relative of young Leopold Hecht will take the witness stand. The 20-year-old, who was studying a law at university, was seriously injured in the attack in Maelbeek, and succumbed to his injuries on the night of 22 to 23 March.

The court will then hear the manager of the Thon Hotel. This man welcomed many injured people in his establishment, located on Rue de la Loi, a stone’s throw from one of the exits of the Maelbeek metro station.

Finally, two relatives of Loubna Lafquiri will be heard in court before the hearing is adjourned. The 34-year-old woman, married and mother of three young children, was on her way to work on the day of the attacks.

She was a gymnastics teacher in a Schaerbeek school, and was appreciated by many people for her social commitment, particularly for promoting women in sport. Several thousand people came to the Grand Mosque of Brussels to pay their last respects, before her body was repatriated to her home town in Morocco. Loubna’s husband, Mohamed El Bachiri, wrote “Jihad of Love”, a frequently published and shared text that testifies to the deep love he had for his wife, but is also a call for peace between people of different faiths.

Ten men are charged in the trial of the 22 March 2016 attacks in Brussels. Osama Atar, who is believed to have died in Syria, is missing.

Eight others – Mohamed Abrini, Osama Krayem, Salah Abdeslam, Sofien Ayari, Bilal El Makhoukhi, Hervé Bayingana Muhirwa, Ali El Haddad Asufi and Smail Farisi – are charged with participation in terrorist activities. the assassination of 32 people and the attempted murders of 695 people. The ninth man, Ibrahim Farisi, is only facing charges of participation in terrorist activities.

On 22 March 2016, two explosions sounded at 07:58 in the departure hall of Brussels National Airport in Zaventem. A third bomb was discovered at the scene a little later, which the bomb squad detonated after evacuating the emergency services and police still on site.

An hour later, at 09:10, another explosion occurred, this time in Brussels, in the Maelbeek metro station. The terrorist attacks left 32 people dead and nearly 300 injured.

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