2016 Brussels attacks trial: Lawyer Salah Abdeslam appears to be going for acquittal

According to Delphine Paci, Salah Abdeslam's lawyer, her client couldn't have been involved in the 22 March 2016 attacks in Brussels. She mentioned this on Tuesday in her deed of defence in response to the federal prosecutor's office's indictment. At the time of the Brussels attacks, Abdeslam was in prison, which she said is an alibi that cannot be doubted.

Salah Abdeslam was arrested four days before the attacks, having been a fugitive for months after the 13 November 2015 attacks in Paris. "The question that should concern you in the coming months is: did he take part in the 22 March attacks while in prison?", Paci informed the jury.

"We don't want to victimise our client. He was sentenced to life in Paris, with no possibility of release. But you should not confuse Paris with Brussels. It would be best if you looked at every element critically. Don't condemn him for what he didn't do. Remember that our client enjoys the presumption of innocence, and that doubt is always in his favour," the lawyer added.

The Belgian Federal Prosecution Service argues that Abdeslam is indeed guilty of the 22 March 2016 attacks. In the indictment, they make several arguments to that effect.

Abdeslam's lawyer also referred to persistent complaints about the suspects' detention and transfer: "They are locked up in conditions that make it impossible for them to attend the trial and defend themselves." Like on Monday, Abdeslam was absent from the trial on Tuesday. Bilal El Makhoukhi, another accused, did not want to be brought from prison to the court.


This drawing by Jonathan De Cesare shows the court room at a session of the trial of the attacks of March 22, 2016, at the Brussels-Capital Assizes Court, Monday 12 December 2022 at the Justitia site in Haren, Brussels. On March 22 2016, 32 people were killed and 324 got injured in suicide bombings at Zaventem national airport and Maalbeek/ Maelbeek metro station, which were claimed by ISIL.

© BELGA PHOTO Jonathan De Cesare


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