Prosecutors demand guilty verdict for Brussels museum shooter

Prosecutors formally demand guilty verdict against man accused of murdering four people at the Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Entrance of the Jewish Museum in Brussels
Entrance of the Jewish Museum in Brussels

Prosecutors on Tuesday formally demanded a guilty verdict against a Frenchman accused of murdering four people in a "violent and savage" killing spree at the Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014, AFP reported.

At the end of a two-day closing summary, prosecutor Bernard Michel urged the jury to find Mehdi Nemmouche, 33, guilty of four counts of "terrorist murder" over the May 2014 attack in which all four victims were coldly shot in the head with either a handgun or a Kalashnikov.

The jury is expected to give its verdict on March 7 before deliberating over what sentence Nemmouche should serve if found guilty.

In his summing up, Michel said Nemmouche, who allegedly fought for jihadist groups in Syria, was "not simply radicalized but ultra-radicalized".

"If attacking a museum with a combat weapon is not violent and savage then nothing will ever be violent and savage. We are looking at one of the most serious possible crimes," Michel said, according to AFP.

"For the killer, for Mehdi Nemmouche, the identity of the victims mattered little. The aim was simply that there should be victims. Everything was premeditated."

Prosecutors accuse Nemmouche of carrying out the first attack in Europe by a jihadist returning from fighting in Syria. The Brussels killings came 18 months before the November 13, 2015, Paris attacks which left 130 dead.

Nemmouche was arrested six days after the May 24, 2014 attack in the southern French port city of Marseille and sent to Belgium two months later, where he faces trial at an unspecified date in the future.

After his arrest, reports surfaced that Nemmouche had been planning to launch a terror attack along the Champs Elysees, the Fifth Avenue of Paris, on France’s biggest national holiday.

In 2016, a Belgian court backed the eventual extradition of Nemmouche to France, where he is suspected of being among the captors of four French journalists who were kept hostage in Syria.

Before the attack on the Jewish museum, Nemmouche is said to have fought in Syria as part of a jihadist faction.

Aside from denying his guilt over the course of a seven-week trial which began on January 10, Nemmouche has said almost nothing in the dock since the first day.

Nemmouche is being tried along with fellow Frenchman Nacer Bendrer, a petty criminal from Marseilles who is accused of supplying the weapons for the attack.

Bendrer has denied any role in the 2014 shootings and said he was not a jihadist.

Michel urged the jury to find Bendrer guilty of being Nemmouche's accomplice.