Suspect in 1991 political assassination in Liege arrested in Italy
Share article:
Share article:

Suspect in 1991 political assassination in Liege arrested in Italy

André Cools (right) and fugitive Cosimo Solazzo. © Belga

The foreign affairs ministry has confirmed reports in the Italian media of the arrest of fugitive Cosimo Solazzo, wanted in Belgium in connection with the 1991 murder of senior socialist politician André Cools.

“We have received confirmation via our embassy in Rome that Cosimo Solazzo was arrested by the carabineers at Veglie, on the basis of the European arrest warrant issued by Belgian justice,” a ministry spokesperson told Belga news agency.

Solazzo, now aged 72, was sentenced to 20 years in his absence by a court in Liege in January 2004

André Cools, a former president of the French-speaking socialist party PS, was gunned down leaving his partner’s apartment on the morning of 18 July 1991. His partner was also shot and wounded.

A special police unit of six officers was set up to investigate the killing, but it took until 1994 before an arrest was made. In 1998 two Tunisian men were arrested and convicted of firing the shots, on the orders of a group of political enemies of Cools.

It was speculated that Cools was about to blow the whistle on the link between the members of the group and various scandals surrounding the party, including bribery.

Solazzo was accused of having arranged the flat where the two killers stayed while in Belgium, as well as driving them around on reconnaissance of the area. The two men, who were known to have links to the Italian Mafia, had left Belgium in the hours immediately following the murder. They were tried in Tunis in 1998 and sentenced to 25 years.

Solazzo fled Belgium for Italy shortly before the trial of his confederates started in 2004. They were sentenced to 20 years, and he was sentenced in absentia.

He is now under house arrest In Veglie, in the heel of Italy, awaiting an electronic ankle band, while a decision is made regarding his extradition to Belgium.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...