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Europe

Investigators slam 'indecent' silence of Belgium Jewish museum suspect

media A court artist drawing of Mehdi Nemmouche, suspected of killing four people in a shooting at Brussels' Jewish Museum in 2014, at Brussels' Palace of Justice REUTERS/Yves Capelle

Belgium's federal investigating magistrates have outlined  their arguments in the trial of Frenchman Mehdi Nemmouche accused of killing four people at the Jewish Museum of Brussels in 2014.

Investigating magistrates, Bernard Michel and Yves Moreau, presented evidence aiming to show that 33-year old Mehdi Nemmouche is the author of the attack on the 24th May 2014 at the Belgium Jewish Museum.

The trial begun in January and a ruling is expected to be delivered in March by three presiding magistrates and 12 jurors.

Nemmouche is accused of "terrorist murder" and if found guilty faces a life sentence. He denies the charges but has, so far, not given any further details.

The prosecution described his silence as "indecent" and his defense "stupid".

The Belgium prosecution said the 2014 attack on the Jewish museum is the first one carried out in Europe by a jihadist fighter coming back from Syria.

Nemmouche was captured in France six days after the attack in Marseille. He was previously known to French authorities, having served five years in prison for robbery.

He had been under surveillance by French and Belgian security services. French authorities also identified him as one of the jihadists who kept four French journalists hostage until they were freed in April 2014 in Syria.

The investigating magistrates presented on Monday a number of evidence: fingerprints on murder weapons, clothes and accessories found on Nemmouche,  as well as his attitude while in remand.

Nemmouche's lawyers claim that the attack was not carried out by the Islamic State but by the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, which was targeting an Israeli couple.

Nacer Bendre (30) is also facing trial for supplying Nemmouche with the arms used in the killings. Nacer denies the charges.

 
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