Mu­seum ‘killer’ ex­tra­dited for trial in Bel­gium


ME­HDI NEM­MOUCHE, the FrenchAl­ge­rian ji­hadist be­lieved to have shot dead four peo­ple at the Jewish Mu­seum in Brus­sels on May 24, was trans­ferred to Bel­gium on Tues­day to stand trial, hav­ing been held in Paris for al­most two months.

Nem­mouche, 29, is thought to have fled to Am­s­ter­dam af­ter the mas­sacre. He was even­tu­ally ar­rested on May 30 on a bus in Mar­seilles.

W h e t h e r Nem­mouche was found by pure chance or as a re­sult of a co­or­di­nated Euro­pean po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion is not clear. At any r a t e , he was car­ry­ing weapons sim­i­lar to those used in Brus­sels at the time of his ar­rest.

Ever since his ar­rest in Mar­seilles, Nem­mouche has re­fused to an­swer ques­tions from the French judges, pre­sum­ably on the ad­vice of his FrenchCameroo­nian lawyer, Apolin Pepiezep.

Like­wise, he has de­clined, so far, to co-op­er­ate with the Bel­gian judges who are now in charge of the case.

One rea­son may be his fear of be­ing ex­tra­dited to Is­rael. Two of the Jewish Mu­seum vic­tims were Is­raeli cit­i­zens. Mr Pepiezep ar­gued that po­lice leaks to the press were valid rea­sons for Nem­mouche’s re­fusal to speak.

Born out of wed­lock in Roubaix, north­ern France, to a men­tally dis­turbed mother of Al­ge­rian ori­gin and an un­known fa­ther, Nem­mouche spent his child­hood be­tween his Al­ge­rian rel­a­tives and a French fos­ter fam­ily.

He en­gaged in petty thiev­ery at 15, and­soon­got­mired in vi­o­lence and crime. Con­victed on sev­eral charges, he spent five years in jail, from 2007 to 2012.

He opted for a mil­i­tant Is­lamic life­style while in jail — not un­usual among Mus­lim crim­i­nals. Once set free, he trav­elled to Turkey, Malaysia and Thai­land in 2013. It is as­sumed that he spent one year in Syria with Is­lamic State mili­tias.

Ac­cord­ing to French in­tel­li­gence and se­cu­rity agen­cies, sev­eral hun­dred young men with a sim­i­lar back­ground or pro­file, and some young women as well, have been trained in Syria over the past two years and have re­turned to Europe. They are seen as a ma­jor se­cu­rity risk.

Ac­cused shooter Nem­mouche

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.