The Brussels Council Chamber has extended by a further two months the preventive detention of Mehdi Nemmouche, the main suspect in the 2014 terror attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels in which four people were killed. Should he appeal against this decision, he will appear before the Appeal Court’s Indictment Chamber within two weeks.
On appearing before the Brussels Council Chamber on Thursday morning, Nemmouche told the judges he would not attend his trial. This was reported later Thursday by his attorneys, Sébastien Courtoy and Henri Laquay. They said the decision was motivated by the worrying state of health of the suspect and deplored the fact that he had not received any treatment.
The medical examiner who had examined Nemmouche in April 2017 had said he urgently needed further examinations. This was refused, said Courtoy, who suspects Nemmouche is suffering from a brain tumour. “He is losing his sight and hearing,” Courtoy said. “All they are doing now is take his tension by making him pass his head through the hatch of his cell door.” Courtoy urged that his client be granted medical treatment, without which, he said, “there will no longer be a trial in France with the presence of Mehdi Nemmouche. What a disastrous image, once again, for Belgian justice”.
Mehdi Nemmouche has been charged with murder in a terrorist context. He is the main suspect in the attack on 24 May 2014 at the Jewish Museum of Brussels that caused four deaths, and had been arrested in Marseille on 30 May 2014.
Two other persons, Nacer Bendrer and Mounir Attalah, suspected of complicity, were transferred to Belgium in February and July 2015 before being realeased conditionally. A warrant was issued in mid-January 2015 for the arrest of a fourth, unidentified, suspect, who had been filmed handing over a bag to Nemmouche a few days before the attack.
The investigation into the attack was completed after three years. The trial is not expected to start before September 2018.