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Brussels attack: two Tunisians indicted in Paris and imprisoned

The investigation into the attack perpetrated on October 16 at Brussels is moving forward Paris where two Tunisians, domiciled in the Paris region, were arrested. indicted Monday evening by a French judge, the investigations still having to clarify their links with the attacker.

These two men were indicted for criminal terrorist association and for complicity in assassination in relation to a terrorist enterprise, then placed in pre-trial detention, the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor's Office (Pnat) told AFP on Tuesday. p>

They are Tunisians, aged around forty and fifty, added sources close to the case. According to the first elements of the investigation, “they do not know each other”, underlined a third source.

– Telephone contacts and jacket –

Brussels attack: two Tunisians indicted in Paris and arrested

Police officers stand guard in front of the house where the man suspected of having killed two Swedes in Brussels was fatally injured in the Belgian capital, October 17, 2023 © AFP – JOHN THYS

The attack in Brussels, using weapons of war, cost the lives of two Swedes – a septuagenarian and a sixty-year-old – who had gone to support their national football team in Belgium.

The attack also injured one, a 70-year-old Swede. The latter “is still being treated in hospital” in Belgium, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs told AFP on Tuesday.

On October 17, an investigation was opened in Paris following information “transmitted by the Belgian judicial authorities”, specified the Pnat.

Four people “likely to be linked to the author of the attack” were arrested Thursday in two departments in the west of France and in the Paris region. Two of the four police custody have been lifted.

The forty-year-old indicted, who “has lived for almost twenty years in France”, “formally contests” the accusations, assured his lawyer, contacted by the 'AFP.

“He has nothing to do with the attack,” declared Mr. Souleymen Rakrouki. The attacker, Abdesalem Lassoued, a 45-year-old radicalized Tunisian, “is a friend he had known for a long time, from whom he had not seen any sign of radicalization. He could never have imagined such an act “.

The investigators are particularly interested in the exchanges that this man, domiciled and arrested in Val-de-Marne, “may have had some time before with the assailant” and “after” the attack, said one of the close sources.

According to Le Parisien, which revealed the existence of these contacts, they exchanged voice messages during the weekend preceding the attack, in particular about the football match between the Belgian and Swedish selections. Another telephone contact, after the attack, would have lasted “one or two minutes”.

Mr. Rakrouki did not wish to comment on the merits of the case.

< p>Furthermore, “a jacket that resembles” the one worn by the attacker was found during a search of the indicted fifty-year-old, two sources close to the case told AFP.

His lawyers, Pierre-Henri Baert and Louise Hennon, did not wish to comment, however emphasizing “the worrying state of health of their client” at the time of his presentation to the investigating judge on Monday.

Investigations “are continuing to clarify the links” of the two indicted with the attacker, underlined the Pnat.

Abdesalem Lassoued was shot dead on October 17 by the Belgian police.

< p>– Judicial fiasco in Belgium –

Brussels attack: two Tunisians indicted in Paris and arrested< /p> Police officers deployed in the Schaerbeek district where an attack cost the lives of two Swedes, on October 17, 2023 in Brussels © BELGA – JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE

The attack quickly relaunched the debate on means of Belgian justice and the failures to monitor radicalized profiles.

After three vain attempts since 2011 in Norway, Sweden and Italy, Abdesalem Lassoued had his request for asylum in Belgium rejected and was subject to an expulsion order since 2021 which was never executed.

After the attack, the Belgian government criticized the lack of cooperation from certain countries of origin to take back their nationals rejected from asylum: a defense undermined by the revelation of an extradition request from Tunis.

Abdesalem Lassoued had in fact been the target of an extradition request from Tunisia for more than a year, where he was sentenced in 2005 to 26 years of imprisonment before escaping in January 2011.

This request, received by the Belgian authorities in August 2022, was not processed by the competent magistrate of the Brussels public prosecutor's office: a failure made public on October 20 by the Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne who immediately resigned.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2023) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116