ISIS trial chaos after jihadists claim ‘abuse’ by Brussels police
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The trial was paused on Wednesday after the jihadists’ lawyers claimed their clients had been beaten and the defendants refused to remain in the courtroom. The largest court case in Belgian legal history, which commenced less than a week ago, has seen ten men placed on trial for the ISIS bomb attacks on Brussels airport and a metro station which killed 32 people and injured more than 300 in 2016.
The trial came to a dramatic halt after one of the men Ali El Haddad Asufi told judges through his lawyer that he had been strangled by officers while in detention.
His lawyer, Jonathan De Taye said: “I’m totally hallucinating. I’ve never attended a trial that takes place under these conditions.”
Mr De Taye argued his client’s treatment had been “worthy of a totalitarian state”.
The judges ruled that the trial should be paused to allow doctors to examine the wounds on Mr Asufi’s body.
While medics advised against halting the trial over the injuries, the ten men protested and were removed after refusing to remain in the court.
The court had expected to finish reading out the indictments against the men by the end of the day but this process is not likely to run on into next week.
Groups representing the victims of the attack slammed the delay as “a catastrophe for justice”.
President of Life4Brussels, Jamila Adda told the Times: “It is absolutely necessary that the Belgian Ministry of Justice intervene and put an end to this unbearable situation for the victims.
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“Victims are also wondering if the defendants have ever put themselves in their shoes.”
The trial was originally scheduled to run until June 2023 but now looks like a verdict will take longer to reach.
Among those on trial is Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the ISIS cell which went on a terror rampage in Paris in 2015.
The attacks, hitting the national French stadium, and the Bataclan theatre and cafes left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded.
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Abdeslam was born to two french parents of Moroccan origin in Brussels on September 15, 1989.
He was raised in the infamous Molenbeek-Saint-Jean neighbourhood of the Belgian capital.
Abdeslam was involved in petty crime, robbery and prostitution before turning to extremist Islam and joining ISIS.
He was eventually sentenced to life in prison without parole over the attacks in the French capital.
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