Jewish Museum shooter gets life sentence


Mehdi Nemmouche has been convicted and sentences in the case of the shooting death of four people in Brussels five years ago

Accessory gets 15 years

Mehdi Nemmouche has received a life sentence for the shooting death of four people in the Jewish Museum of Belgium in 2014. Nacer Bendrer, who supplied Nemmouche with the weapons, received 15 years in prison.

Following a two-month trial in Brussels, a jury last week found Nemmouche (pictured left) guilty of the murder of four people – two visitors and two workers – at the museum in the centre of Brussels. The jury also found Bendrer guilty of being an accessory to murder.

The murders were carried out on 24 May 2014, when Nemmouche walked into the Jewish Museum on Minimenstraat and shot the first two people he saw – Emanuel and Miriam Riva, tourists from Israel. He then continued to the ticket desk and shot museum workers Dominque Sabrier and Alexandre Strens.

Sabrier died at the scene, while Strens died a few days later in hospital. Nemmouche was apprehended in Marseille a week later when the Kalashnikov used was found during a routine travel check.

‘Egocentric and narcissistic’

The court agreed to the prosecutors’ request that Nemmouche get life in prison and to Bendrer’s lawyers’ request that he get 15 years. The prosecutor had asked for 30 for Bendrer.

“In the case of Nemmouche, there were no circumstances that would suggest leniency,” read the court’s decision. “He was the mastermind and the one who carried out the crime. The attack had an anti-Semitic character and struck the very heart of the Jewish community.” In addition, read the decision, “Nemmouche has shown himself to be egocentric and narcissistic.”

Bendrer (pictured right) was the opposite, showing remorse for the victims and their families. While he supplied the weapons to Nemmouche, he had no previous record for serious infractions, argued his lawyers, and he did not know what Nemmouche intended to do with the weapons.

The court agreed, saying that he was “not present at the scene of the crime and did not plan it. He has also since his arrest distanced himself from radical Islam and shown empathy for the victims.”

Both men are French nationals, and Bendrer will serve his sentence in France. Nemmouche will remain in Belgium for the time being.

Photo courtesy VRT