Two men to stand trial over death of Daniel, 9, at asylum centre

A jury has been chosen for the trial of two men charged with causing the death of a nine-year-old boy at an asylum centre in Broechem, Antwerp province, four years ago. The trial of Ali Alhaj Mahmoud, 25, and Fahmi Al Achqar, 22, is due to begin at Antwerp assizes court on Friday.

Daniel El Alali, a boy of Palestinian-Lebanese origin, disappeared on 22 April 2019 from the asylum centre where he was staying with his mother, aunt and cousin. His bike was recovered during a search, but there was no trace of him. Later that night, his mother received a WhatsApp message demanding a ransom of 100,000 euros.

On 24 April, the residential blocks and surrounding grounds were searched again and Daniel's boday was found in a ditch, covered with earth and leaves. An autopsy showed that he had been suffocated. 

The two accused men made a partial confession of a plan to kidnap Daniel for ransom and each blame the other for the boy's death. They were referred to the assizes court for taking a minor hostage resulting in death. A jury of seven women and five men has been chosen. The trial is due to start on Friday with the reading of the charge sheet and interrogation of the defendants and is expected to last seven days. 


#FlandersNewsService | Illustration picture shows the Assizes Court in Antwerp, 19 September 2023 © BELGA PHOTO JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE

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