“Technically impossible to add a face to the image” of Nemmouche – police specialist
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    “Technically impossible to add a face to the image” of Nemmouche – police specialist

    © Belga
    © Belga

    It would have been “technically impossible” to add a face to the image of the killer taken from the video-surveillance camera at the Jewish Museum because of the low resolution of the footage, the Federal Police specialist who worked on the photo testified in court on Tuesday. Lawyers for Mehdi Nemmouche claimed in their defence submission that the spectacles worn by the accused had been erased and that the face had been reconstituted.

    The footage from the museum’s cameras are of poor quality, the specialist in videogrammetry said. He therefore felt he was incapable to making a final judgement on the issue of the spectacles and explained the work he did on the image.

    Using Photoshop, he created a “balance between light and dark hues” to improve the contrast on the face. “It’s a treatment, not a manipulation. Nothing was added,” he insisted, adding that this could be seen from the history of the modifications done to the image. The size of the face on the image is 30 pixels x 30 pixels. “A much better resolution would be needed to change the outline of the face, which is round, whereas the pixels are square,” the specialist explained.

    The explanation was dismissed by the defence team, with Maitre Courtoy accusing the investigators of “doctoring” the photograph.

    In their submission, Nemmouche’s lawyers said the disappearance of the spectacles from the face of the shooter between the images from video-surveillance cameras and those published in the media was evidence of their client’s innocence. 

    “Even if these images had already been manipulated by the time they came to us, the individual whose face was purportedly placed on the photo would have had to be in exactly the same position as the man on the initial photo and the resolution of these two photos would have had to be perfectly the same,” explained the specialist, who said the least change in the grey tone would have been visible. “All the video footage would have had to be doctored.”

    Andy Sanchez
    The Brussels Times