Trial of November 13: defendants, including Abdeslam, again absent from the hearing

Since Thursday, several defendants have refused to go to the hearing to challenge the anonymity of the Belgian police officers during the trial.

Five defendants at the trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015, including Salah Abdeslam, refused this Friday to appear at the hearing, which resumed without them. Salah Abdeslam, Mohamed Abrini, Sofien Ayari and Osama Krayem had already refused to take place in the box Thursday to challenge the physical absence at the stand and the anonymization of Belgian investigators called to testify at the trial. They were joined this Friday in their protest movement by a fifth defendant, Mohamed Bakkali.

The first of the three Belgian investigators to intervene this Friday must discuss the stay in Syria of the brother of Salah Abdeslam, Brahim, who died at the Comptoir Voltaire in the 11th arrondissement of Paris after having triggered his explosive belt there on November 13, 2015, and his journey to ‘at the end of August 2015.

Anonymized testimonials

Belgian investigators have obtained the opportunity to testify anonymously by videoconference from Brussels after a request to this effect from the Belgian judicial authorities.

In a letter dated November 15, the Federal Prosecutor of Belgium Frédéric Van Leeuw estimated that the lack of anonymization of Belgian investigators presented “a real legal problem”. He added that under the legislation of his country, he could refuse to grant the request to hear the investigators called as witnesses or grant it “only on condition that the identity of the Belgian anti-terrorist police officers did not is not publicly disclosed “.

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