Jewish Museum shooting investigation complete, trial to follow

Summary

The man accused of killing four people in the Jewish Museum of Belgium in 2014 is expected to stand trial early next year

Defence favours jury trial

Mehdi Nemmouche, accused of killing four people in a shooting at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in 2014, has been remanded in custody for a further two months. At the same time, the prosecutor’s office said the investigation into the attack was now complete, and Nemmouche (pictured) could expect to go to trial in the early part of next year.

The investigating magistrate has passed the dossier to the federal prosecutor’s office, which has authority over terrorism cases. The magistrate assigned to the case will prepare arguments for having Nemmouche committed for trial.

A court will then decide what charges he will face and in front of which level of tribunal. Both the defence and the civil parties  favour a jury trial.

The prosecution has not commented on the issue, but prosecutors more often than not prefer to argue a case before a bench of professional judges rather than risk the more unpredictable judgement of a jury.

The attack on the museum was carried out by a single armed man; two volunteers and two visitors died either on site or later in hospital. Nemmouche, 32, was arrested in Marseilles in possession of weapons a week after the shooting.

He has not given any statements during his time in custody. His lawyers have said that he admits taking part in the attack but denies being the shooter.

Two other men are implicated in the planning of the operation and in Nemmouche’s escape to France. One of them, Nacer Bendrer, was in custody until last November, when he was released under conditions. He is now under house arrest in France. A fourth suspect has never been traced.

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