Brussels terror attacks trial: Accused refuse to apologise to victims

Brussels terror attacks trial: Accused refuse to apologise to victims
Credit: Belga/Eric Lalmand

As the trial of the 2016 terror attacks in Brussels progresses, the accused have refused to offer their sincere apologies to the victims and provided little clarification when questioned by the Public Prosecutor's Office and lawyers on Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday morning, the men answered questions from several attorneys but revealed very little new information. They also refused to apologise to the victims of the terror attacks in Brussels Airport Zaventem or the Maelbeek metro station.

One of the men on trial, Salah Abdeslam who is believed to have been instrumental in orchestrating the attacks, told the court that he never asked any questions about the weapons in the safe house in Rue du Dries in the Brussels municipality of Forest. "I was not a logistical assistant," Abdeslam said.

Several of the other men – Bilal El Makhoukhi, Hervé Bayingana Muhirwa and Ali El Haddad Asufi – explained their link to Najim Laachraoui, who fabricated the explosives and was one of the two suicide bombers at Zaventem.

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While Asufi insisted that he did not know him, the other two were familiar with Laachraoui. El Makhoukhi even said that Laachraoui had asked him for weapons, which is how he knew that the group was preparing for attacks.

It quickly became apparent that it was "not the time" for apologies. One lawyer asked the men on trial if they were ready to accept the outstretched hand of some of the relatives of the victims and express their regret, but the question was mainly met with a refusal to apologise.

Others in the accused box claimed to have had "nothing to do with the facts" or took the invitation to express regret as an opportunity to speak of their own suffering.

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