2016 Brussels bombings trial to start on October 10

The Belgian judicial year that starts on September 1 will be dominated in Brussels by the assize trial on the terrorist attacks of 22 March 2016 in Brussels and Zaventem. That trial will start on October 10, following a preliminary hearing on September 12, and will probably last until June.

On 22 March 2016, attacks took place at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and shortly after at Maelbeek station on the Brussels metro – the two attacks allegedly coordinated by the same cell of terrorists. The death toll of the Brussels attacks stands at 32, as well as three of the terrorists themselves, while 340 people were injured.

The court committed ten suspects for trial: Salah Abdeslam, Oussama Atar, Mohamed Abrini, Sofien Ayari, Osama Krayem, Ali El Haddad Asufi, Bilal El Makhoukhi, Hervé Bayingana Muhirwa, the two Smail brothers and Ibrahim Farisi. Some will stand accused of murder and attempted murder of the victims of the attacks; others of taking part in the plot to carry out the attacks.

At present, the number of civil parties to the case – victims of the attacks, an association of victims, families of the deceased – number 960 in all. The trial is planned to take place at the former NATO headquarters in Evere in the north of Brussels, which is being fitted to accommodate the hundreds of press and others expected to attend.

The trial is likely to exceed by far the largest trial to take place in Brussels since the aftermath of the Heysel disaster of May 1985, which resulted in 26 Liverpool fans being charged with manslaughter and tried in the Brussels Justice Palace starting in October 1988.



People lighting candles at a wake for the Brussels Airport employees in Zaventem on 23 March 2016 © BELGA PHOTO YORICK JANSENS

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