Expert calls for Schaerbeek police murder to be considered as a terrorist attack

Expert calls for Schaerbeek police murder to be considered as a terrorist attack
Credit: James Arthur Gekiere/Belga.

A parliamentary hearing into the murder of a police officer in November has commenced, with criminologist Michaël Dantinne calling for the incident to be labelled as a "terrorist attack". Questions have previously been raised over how the assailant avoided prior surveillance.

Yassine Mahi, who stabbed two police officers in Schaerbeek's red-light district, had not only reported himself to the police in the hours preceding the murder but had also been released by the hospital which had treated him for psychological care.

Moreover, Mahi had also been under the radar of the OCAD, the Belgian body in charge of analysing potential terror threats.

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As a result, a federal inquest is now being held into the incident, with police forces telling parliamentarians that the exchange of information between police and the medical sector had to be facilitated.

However, Michaël Dantinne stated that an individual error of judgement rather than the system was to blame for the lack of necessary oversight. "If you add up all the elements and cannot conclude that a misjudgement occurred, then you can stop trying to prevent attacks," he told those present at the hearing.

For Dantinne, a criminal law professor at the University of Liège who specialises in radicalisation, it is now imperative that November's murder be labelled as a terrorist attack, given that the perpetrator had shown a willingness to die while shouting "Allahu Akbar".

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