On Tuesday, a ruling by the Brussels Correctional Tribunal concerning 30 people charged with terrorism revealed Najim Laachraoui became radicalised at the age of 17 or 18, back in 2008. This was reported by La Dernière Heure on Saturday. This contradicts an earlier statement by Home Affairs Minister Jan Jambon (New Flemish Alliance), who said he became radicalised just a short time before the attacks. The 25 year old was one of two terrorists who blew themselves up at Zaventem Airport on the 22nd of March.
Tuesday’s ruling concerning Najim Laachraoui and 29 other people charged with participating in terrorist activities revealed he became radicalised at 17, back in 2008. The incidents date from 2012 to 2014.
The revelation came from Najim Laachraoui’s father. Laachraoui was one of the kamikazes involved in the Brussels attacks in March. He is also thought to have helped plan November’s attacks in Paris. His father said Laachraoui “became more interested in Islam from the age of 17 or 18. By the time he reached adulthood he was already radicalised. This led to a change in clothing style, and he stopped doing sports”, the Tribunal’s ruling said. La Dernière Heure was able to look at a copy.
At the start of Tuesday’s ruling, the President announced she wouldn’t read the passages concerning the defendants not present, to make the reading of the decision go faster. It was 300 pages long. This is why some details have only just been revealed to the public.
Najim Laachraoui was sentenced to 5 years in prison, even though he has since died.
The revelation that Najim Laachraoui was radicalised so long ago contradicts an earlier statement by Home Affairs Minister Jan Jambon (New Flemish Alliance). When asked about Najim Laachraoui having worked at Zaventem Airport for 5 years, the Minister explained that the radicalisation process for some individuals can be very short.
“That doesn’t mean a mistake was made. He could have been radicalised while he worked at the Airport, or after”, the Minister said. Najim Laachraoui was allowed to work at the Airport after 2008, so probably after his radicalisation.