Brussels Airport robbery: absence of main suspect prevents start of trial
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    Brussels Airport robbery: absence of main suspect prevents start of trial

    © Belga
    Marc Bertoldi's lawyer will do everything he can to ensure his client's right to a fair trial, including taking the case to Strasbourg if necessary.
    © Belga

    The trial for the spectacular diamond theft committed in Brussels Airport will not start, as anticipated, on September 11th. The Belga press agency has learned this from the Brussels Courthouse. The information was confirmed on Thursday by several lawyers involved in the case. The case will have to be deferred given that Marc Bertoldi, the main suspect, is in prison in France and cannot be returned to Belgium. His lawyer, Me Dimitri de Béco, explained, “There is no legal basis for a problem which should be resolved urgently.”

    The robbery was committed on February 18th, 2013, at Brussels Airport by at least eight armed and masked men, who stole diamonds worth a total of €37 million on a Swiss airline flight. Sixteen men and three women have been prosecuted by the Brussels Criminal Court for their role in the theft or concealing the stolen items.

    The Frenchmen Marc Bertoldi is considered to be the mastermind behind the theft, but he is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence in France for his alleged participation in a kidnapping there. The man concerned has appealed his sentence in that case, and these appeal proceedings start at the beginning of September in Nancy. Me de Béco explained, “The Hal-Vilvorde Public Prosecutor requested Marc Bertoldi’s transfer as part of the trial for the diamond theft.”

    He went on, “The French Public Prosecutor has agreed to this but no solution has been able to be reached as between the ministers of justice, given that there is no legal basis for such a transfer. A legal solution needs to be urgently found. If the trial takes place in the absence of my client, there will be serious a violation of his right to a fair trial, which I will challenge all the way to Strasbourg if necessary.”

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times