Abdeslam and four co-defendants leave the courtroom

They are protesting in particular against mining conditions that they consider “unworthy”. Salah Abdeslam and four of his co-defendants in the trial of the attacks of March 22, 2016 in Brussels, which caused the death of 32 people, left the courtroom on Wednesday morning. “All we want is to talk, all we want is to defend ourselves,” assured one of them, Ali El Haddad Asufi, while his box neighbors got up and left. without a word.

In addition to the Frenchman Salah Abdeslam, the Belgian-Moroccan Mohamed Abrini, the Swede Osama Krayem and the Tunisian Sofien Ayari, all already condemned in France for their participation in the attacks of November 13 in Paris, left the box. “Everything is done to keep us quiet (…) everything is done to break us psychologically,” continued Ali El Haddad Asufi, accused of logistical support for the perpetrators of the attacks that killed 32 people at Brussels-Zaventem airport. and in the Brussels metro.

A “political trial”

He asked for “dignified measures”, like “all litigants”. “If no one speaks, there can be no trial,” Ali El Haddad Asufi said again, denouncing a “political trial” before deserting the box in turn. “For the Assize Court, this is not a political trial,” said President Laurence Massart.

“We will examine everything for and against,” she insisted. The protests against the conditions of extraction and transfer of the seven accused appearing detained – two others are free and a tenth, presumed dead in Syria, is tried in absentia – had already marked the first day of debates on Monday.

“Humiliating” practices

Mohamed Abrini, known as “the man in the hat” who gave up blowing himself up at Brussels airport on March 22, 2016, had spoken out to criticize “pitiful” and “humiliating” transfer conditions, eyes blindfolded with “satanic music blasted out”, as well as strip searches.

Ali El Haddad Asufi’s lawyer, Jonathan de Taye, had denounced the naked genuflections and announced a formal notice from the Ministry of Justice in order to obtain the relaxation of security measures. After this hearing incident, the public prosecutor continued to read the indictment, a summary of the investigations of more than 400 pages, in front of an almost empty box.

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