Terror suspects appear in court, trial adjourned
3 November 2005
BRUSSELS — The trial of 13 suspected members of the terrorist network GICM started in the Francophone Brussels Court on Thursday morning.
Three of the defendants — all of whom live in Maaseik in Flanders— requested that their lawyer be allowed to speak in Dutch, but the request was denied.
The three suspects are all Dutch-speaking, but are on trial in the Francophone court because the other 10 suspects are French-speaking.
They requested that their lawyer be allowed to speak Dutch because their friends and family would be able to understand proceedings. Documents in the case dossier have also been written in Dutch.
The Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM) is suspected of holding links to the terror network al-Qaeda.
One of the suspects is accused of assisting the bomb attacks in Casablanca in May 2003, while the group is accused of providing logistical support for the Madrid bombings in March 2004.
Tight security was employed around the Brussels court building on Thursday and the trial has been adjourned until 16 November.
After the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) trial several years ago and recent proceedings against Nisar Trabelsi and Tarek Maaroufi, this is the 4th terror trial to be held in Belgium.
However, it is the first time that the special terrorism law of 2003 will be applied. The new law opens up the possibility the men could be jailed for 10 years if convicted of belonging to a terrorist organisation.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news