Salah Abdeslam, Mohamed Abrini, Sofien Ayari and Osama Krayem protest against the absence on the stand and the anonymization of Belgian investigators who must testify before the special assize court in Paris.
The hearing for the November 13 attacks resumed on Thursday in the absence of four defendants, including Salah Abdeslam, who refused to appear in court. Salah Abdeslam, Mohamed Abrini, Sofien Ayari and Osama Krayem refused to join the box to protest against the physical absence at the helm and the anonymization of Belgian investigators who are due to testify this Thursday before the special assize court in Paris. “We can see that we are missing four defendants in the box. Mr. Krayem, Mr. Abdeslam, Mr. Ayari and Mr. Abrini who refused to go to the courtroom to protest the absence of the Belgian police», Said President Jean-Louis Périès at the opening of the hearing.
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«Salah Abdeslam played the hearing game. He understood the need to attend and participate. But today, he refuses to extract because there are things that we can hardly understand», Explained his lawyer Olivia Ronen. “If we notice that an Austrian investigator travels (Wednesday) and comes to testify for more than five hours, it is difficult to understand that a decision of your court allows Belgian investigators to testify anonymously and by videoconference.She added. According to Me Ronen, some of these police officers testified, until recently, under their name and with their faces uncovered in television reports devoted to his client.
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Several defense lawyers then took the floor to protest in turn. “The matter has been decided“, Exasperated the president, who suspended the hearing time to have the refusal of the four defendants recorded by a bailiff. Belgian investigators must testify from this Thursday and for two weeks but will do so anonymously, the court decided after a request to this effect from the Belgian judicial authorities. In a letter dated November 15, the Federal Prosecutor of Belgium Frédéric Van Leeuw protested against the lack of anonymization of Belgian investigators, presenting according to him “a real legal problem“. He added that under the legislation of his country, he could refuse to grant the request for hearing of the investigators called as witnesses or to grant it “that on condition that the identity of the Belgian anti-terrorist police officers is not publicly revealed».
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