Jewish Museum trial gets under way after false start
Friday, 11 January 2019
The trial of the men accused of the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May 2014 was due to resume on Friday morning, after it was adjourned on Thursday evening to allow discussion of legal motions brought by the defence. Mehdi Nemmouche and Nacer Bendrer are accused of planning and carring out the attack in which four people died – two members of the Museum staff and two visitors. Nemmouche, a French national aged 33, was filmed by security cameras actually carrying out the attack. Bendrer, also a French national aged 30, is being tried as an accomplice, which normally carries the same sentence as the principal accused.
The trial before a jury is likely last some time: prosecutors drew up a list last month of 120 witnesses. They include four French journalists who were taken hostage in Syria in 2013, when Nemmouche was acting as a jailer for a terrorist group. The men claim to have recognised Nemmouche at the time of the attack; their testimony is intended to establish a terrorist link.
Nemmouche himself, meanwhile, denies any link and argues that the attack was not a terrorist act.
Since May 2014, the Museum has been fully renovated. Despite that, however, the Museum still carries the scars of the bullets, according to Museum president Philippe Blondin. However the organisation, he said, does not intend to become the fifth victim of the attack, and will carry on its mission “with even more determination”.