At the trial of the attacks of 22 March 2016, tempers ran just as high this afternoon during the testimony of Walter Benjamin, a victim who lost his leg in the attack at Brussels Airport. Benjamin pulled out a Quran and said the accused “have demeaned the holy book.” Defendants Sofien Ayari and Salah Abdeslam then vigorously defended themselves, after which chairman Laurence Massart had to suspend the session for a while.
“Does it say in the Quran that people should blow themselves up, kill themselves? No! By their actions, these people have humiliated the most sacred of Islam,” said Benjamin, who held up the Quran and waved it at the accused. Massart then warned him not to provoke. “I am not provoking anyone. You are murderers,” cried Benjamin.
Sofien Ayari in particular reacted strongly from the box of the accused and shouted reproaches at the witness, which also prompted Salah Abdeslam. “I refuse to be told that I have insulted the Quran,” Ayari said. “We suffer here. We have done absolutely nothing,” Abdeslam added.
LOOK. Indian air hostess whose photo went around the world after the Zaventem attack speaks during the trial: “Explosion felt like a fireball that fell on me”
“Place Reserved in Hell”
After about fifteen minutes the trial was resumed and all parties had calmed down, although the defendant Osama Krayem no longer appeared in the box. Benjamin added that “not all Muslims are terrorists” and thanked Hassan, the man who saved his life on the day of the attacks. He concluded his testimony with a final swipe at the accused. “I think their place is reserved in hell,” he said.
During his testimony, Benjamin, who was on his way to his daughter in Tel Aviv on March 22, 2016, also lashed out at the Belgian state, which he says has barely done anything to help the victims. “I am still confronted every day with insurers requesting additional documents. Belgium has completely let us down.” The witness was also critical of the lawyers defending the accused. Massart then replied that the lawyers were “just doing their job”.
Tomorrow it will be exactly seven years ago that our country was startled by the heavy attacks on Zaventem airport and in the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels. A total of 32 people were killed in the attacks. More than 340 were injured. Nine terrorists affiliated with the terrorist movement Islamic State (IS) are on trial in the assize process.
Ronald Detige (44) accompanies the victims of the attacks in Zaventem: “Many people are now only looking the perpetrators in the eye for the first time” (+)
Parents Bart Migom (21) focus on process attacks against terrorists: “You are at a crossroads. Take your responsibility” (+)
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