Brussels attacks trial: Abdeslam thinks Belgium 'should apologise'

Salah Abdeslam, on trial for the 2016 Brussels bombings, says the Belgian state should apologise, because it "misjudged the situation" at the time and "took risks". During the trial, which is taking place in Brussels, Abdeslam and several other defendants have referenced bombings in Syria to justify their part in the attacks. However, others did show remorse during cross-examination.

Abdeslam suddenly raised his hand in the late morning on Wednesday, saying he had something to say. He argued that everyone must take responsibility, including the Belgian state. Abdeslam said the government at the time "misjudged the situation, took risks, and the consequences are still being felt today". He gave no further explanation. "The minimum now is to take responsibility, even apologise," said Abdeslam, who concluded by saying the state should also intervene with insurers to compensate victims adequately.

Abdeslam, Mohamed Abrini, Sofien Ayari, Bilal El Makhoukhi and several others used bombings in Syria to justify their part in the 22 March attacks, referring to the many civilian casualties involved. Later on Wednesday, however, some of the accused showed remorse for the Brussels bombings, which claimed the lives of 35 people, includingn three of the perpetrators.

To conclude the cross-examinations, all the accused were asked how they now look back on the facts and how they see their future. Abrini said he must accept the situation and his punishment. Abdeslam said the facts must be viewed in their context but would not elaborate. Ayari reiterated the hatred he had felt in Syria, while El Makhoukhi admitted that he only realised how brutal the attacks had been after seeing the victims.



Lawyer Delphine Paci and defendant Salah Abdeslam © BELGA PHOTO LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ

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