The Belgian thirty-year-old, of Somali origin, who attacked three members of the military in Brussels on Friday evening, had stayed for a few weeks in a psychiatric hospital in April. This was indicated on Monday by his lawyer, Me Norbert Demeulenaere, to the VRT. He went on to confirm this information to the Belga press agency. The man had been admitted to hospital following an incident at his workplace. Me Demeulenaere stated, “He showed no signs of radicalisation but it is possible that his psychiatric problems left him vulnerable to being manipulated.”
The man had worked for several years as a solderer in a metallurgic company in Eeklo (East Flanders). He did so until he attacked some of his colleagues with a screwdriver on April 7th, for a reason which is unknown. The individual was arrested for questioning and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, He left there after two and a half weeks.
When his former employer required him to recover some of his belongings, he then took advice from Me Demeulenaere. The latter learned what had actually happened from the company, his client proving unable to provide a clear explanation to him.
The lawyer said, “He said that he had been harassed and that he was defending himself, also saying said that the harassers had spied upon him, whilst he actually lives on the seventh floor.” Me Demeulenaere went on, “This is why I had a strong suspicion that he had a psychiatric problem, and I took him to the hospital in Eeklo.”
However, the man refused to be admitted. The lawyer helped him to obtain sickness benefit and find a new job. The individual however severed all contact in mid-May.
The lawyer added, “I have no knowledge of what he has done since that time.” He went on, “I did not detect that he had any signs of radicalization…However, something has to have happened to him, otherwise he would not have attacked the members of the military on Friday. Possibly his psychiatric problems rendered him vulnerable and he was manipulated.”
The Brussels Times