On Monday, during the terrorism trial of the Sharia4Belgium group, lawyers Abderrahim Lahlali and Walter Damen, who represent defendants Houssien and Hakim E., have raised a number of questions concerning the proceedings. The court withdrew before deciding to add these questions to the case, allowing the trial to continue. Counsel noted that the prosecution used pieces of evidence formerly rejected by the Court in 2012.
Lahlali and Damen consider the criminal court to be incompetent. They believe that the law of war applies and the case should be referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague (Netherlands). The court and most of the other lawyers involved in the case disagree with this assessment.
Lahlali and Damen also believe that the rights of the defense were violated due to leaks to the press. They requested that the charges against Houssien E. be dropped due to his disappearance in Syria. The family of the accused appeared before the Brussels Family Court to begin the process of having him declared dead. The Court did not dispute that evidence to that effect existed, but the 23-year old young man will still be actively pursued by the courts to ensure that his death was not faked in order to avoid prosecution.
The defense and the prosecution have both requested separating the case against Hakim E. from that of Houssein. Hakim is suspected of kidnapping and murder in Syria, offenses for which he could be summoned before a criminal court.
Sarah Johansson (Source: Belga)