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2016 attacks in Brussels: the court orders the dismantling of the accused’s box

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The Assize Court which is preparing to judge the 10 defendants of the March 2016 terrorist attacks in Brussels considered that the system of individual glass cells was “too drastic” and did not allow a fair trial. She therefore ordered the dismantling of this compartmentalized box.

The Assize Court which is preparing to judge the ten accused of the jihadist attacks of March 2016 in Brussels ordered on Friday the dismantling of the box compartmentalized into individual glass cells, considering that this “too drastic” device violated the right to a fair trial. . The box “in its current configuration” must be dismantled “for at most October 10, 2022”, the date scheduled to constitute the popular jury, said the president of the court Laurence Massart. The debates are then supposed to open on October 13.

This unprecedented configuration in Belgium to bring defendants to the assizes had raised an outcry from the side of the defense on Monday during the preliminary hearing. These nine closed individual boxes (a tenth defendant, presumed dead in Syria, will be tried in his absence) had been compared to “cages”. The French jihadist Salah Abdeslam, who is among the accused, quickly left the hearing denouncing an “unfair” trial.

“Inhuman treatment”

In unison, the defendants’ lawyers demanded the demolition of these glass cells, believing that they constituted “inhuman and degrading treatment” for their clients, and undermined their presumption of innocence. They also pointed to exchanges made very difficult on both sides of the wall.

Dismissing the first grievance on “inhuman treatment”, the president retained several others, and concluded in particular a “violation of article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights” guaranteeing the right to a fair trial. She felt that the “isolation” of the defendants jeopardized their participation. And suggested replacing these individual cells with “a single box with a glass band collectively welcoming the accused”.

An attack responsible for 32 deaths

“It’s a satisfaction to hear that justice recalls the fundamental principles, but it’s still sad to have had to come to this,” reacted Virginie Taelman, one of the defense lawyers, in reference to the battle. procedural conducted for several weeks against these boxes.

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This is the trial of the attacks committed on March 22, 2016 in Brussels (32 dead) by the same jihadist cell as that at the origin of November 13, 2015 (130 dead in Paris and Saint-Denis).

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