Council Chamber extends pre-trial detention of four suspects in Brussels
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    Council Chamber extends pre-trial detention of four suspects in Brussels

    © Belga
    © Belga

    On Tuesday, the Brussels Council Chamber extended the detention of Mohamed Abrini, Osama Krayem, Ali El-Haddad Asufi and Hervé BM by two months. All four are being held in custody in connection with the March 22 attacks in Brussels, said the federal prosecutor’s office on Thursday.

    Mohammed Abrini, a Belgo-Moroccan who was caught on film two days before the Paris attacks at around 19:00, accompanied by Salah Abdeslam, at the Ressons-sur-Matz petrol station near Compiegne in Oise, France, was arrested on 8 April in the Albert square in Anderlecht on the motorway heading in the direction of Paris. The investigation of the Brussels attacks found that Abrini was “the man in the hat”, the third man seen in the group of the two suicide bombers at Brussels Airport.

    It has also become apparent from the investigation of the Paris bombings that Mohamed Abrini and Salah Abdeslam rented the apartment-hotel in Alfortville just before the attacks. It is in this apartment that several of the suicide terrorists stayed shortly before the Paris attacks.

    Mohammed Abrini has been charged with participating in terrorist group activities, terrorist killings and attempted terrorist killings in the Brussels bombings case. He was also charged with participating in terrorist group activities and terrorist killings in the Paris bombings. Abrini reportedly said he that did not want to carry out an attack and was forced by the El Bakraoui brothers to accompany them to the airport.

    Osama Krayem, also known as Naim Al Hamed, is the second man who was present during the attack on the Maelbeek metro station. Krayem was only indicted in connection with the attacks in Brussels and Zaventem, but said he had not been aware that the attacks were planned. He was also present in the City 2 complex when the bags that were used during the attacks were bought. Just before the attack on the Maelbeek metro station, he gave Khalid El Bakraoui a backpack, with which he later blew himself up but he was unaware that the bag contained explosives. The investigation of the Paris bombings showed that it was by means of a vehicle, rented by Salah Abdeslam, that he had picked up Osama Krayem on 3 October 2015 in Ulm, Germany, and then brought him back to Belgium.

    Osama Krayem was arrested on 9 April in Brussels and placed under arrest and charged with participating in terrorist group activities and terrorist killings in the Brussels bombings case.

    Hervé B.M. was arrested at the same time as Osama Krayemet and is suspected of providing logistical assistance to Mohamed Abrini and Osama Krayem. He was arrested for participation in terrorist group activities and involvement in terrorist killings in the Brussels bombings case.

    Ali El Haddad Asufi was arrested for the first time on 24 March before being released on the same day. On 9 June, however, the man was again arrested and this time placed under arrest and charged with participation in terrorist group activities, killings in a terrorist context and attempted killings in a terrorist context as a perpetrator, co-perpetrator or accomplice.

    Ali El Haddad Asufi would have been responsible for logistics during the preparation of the attacks in Brussels and is thought to have rented the apartment on the avenue des Casernes in Etterbeek. It is from this home that Khalid el-Bakraoui and Osama Krayem left on the day of the attacks to get to the Maelbeek metro station. Ali El Haddad Asufi was allegedly also in phone contact with several other suspects in the case.

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times