After an investigation lasting nearly three years, the case on the Brussels Jewish Museum attack which took place on May 24th, 2014, is now closed. The investigating judge, Berta Bernardo-Mendez, has sent the case to the Federal Proseutor’s Office.
The Federal Deputy Public Prosecutor, Bernard Michel, must prepare the Prosecution’s case before the matter goes before the court in chambers.
It will fall to the latter court hearing to decide which jurisdiction should hear the defendants’ case. The Frenchman, Mehdi Nemmouche (32), the main suspect in this case, is still imprisoned.
However, Nemmouche’s two assumed accomplices, Nacer Bendrer (28) and Mounir Attalah (29) have, in the meantime, been released on bail. A fourth potential suspect has never been identified.
The attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels cost the lives of four people. These included a couple of Israeli tourists, Emanuel (54) and Miriam (53) Riva, as well as Dominique Chabrier (66), a French volunteer at the Jewish Museum, who all died at the scene following the incident.
A further man Alexandre Strens, a museum employee, succumbed to his injuries on June 6th, 2014.
Mehdi Nemmouche, the first suspect identified in this case, was arrested a week after the incident in Marseilles – on May 30th, 2014.
During his arrest, Nemmouche was found in possession of weapons very similar to those used in the attack, ammunition and an Islamic State flag.
He also had a video where a man said so-called “off-camera” that he was the perpetrator of the Brussels attack, whilst filming his weapons and clothes.
Up until now, Nemmouche has said nothing to the Belgian investigators. His lawyers say that there is no conclusive evidence against him.
However, the court in chambers and the Indictment Division have extended his detention on each occasion when he has come before them.
Nacer Bendrer and Mounir Attalah were arrested for questioning during the investigation, warrants having been issued for their arrests. During the investigation, unlike Nemmouche, they were released subject to bail conditions.
A wanted notice concerning the fourth potential suspect was disseminated during mid-January 2015. The man had been filmed just a few days after the attack, in the company of Nemmouche, and has not yet been identified.
The investigating judge has nevertheless decided to close the investigation and the Federal Prosecutor’s Office must now make its case.
As The Brussels Times has prviously mentioned, a trial before the courts is largely preferred by civil parties in the proceedings and Mehdi Nemmouche’s Defence team.