Brussels court convicts Frenchman of murder in Jewish museum attack

A police officer secures the Palace of Justice during the trial of Mehdi Nemmouche and Nacer Bendrer - accused of killing four people in a shooting at Brussels’ Jewish Museum in 2014. (Reuters)
Updated 07 March 2019
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Brussels court convicts Frenchman of murder in Jewish museum attack

  • Mehdi Nemmouche convicted of terrorist murder for the shooting deaths of four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014
  • The shooting attack was the first to underscore the threat posed by militants returning to their home countries in Europe after fighting in Syria’s war

BRUSSELS: French citizen Mehdi Nemmouche was convicted of "terrorist murder" by a Belgian court on Thursday for shooting dead four people in a Jewish museum in Brussels after returning from Syria in 2014, federal prosecutors said.
Sentencing after the two-month-long jury trial over what is seen as the first attack by an extremist militant with European citizenship after returning from Syria will be announced at a later date.
Nemmouche, 33, admitted to carrying a Kalashnikov, a revolver and ammunition similar to that used in the museum shooting. But his lawyer said his client did not pull the trigger in the attack that killed an Israeli couple and two museum staff, Belgian public broacaster RTBF said.
Nemmouche told the court he was "tricked" while his lawyer said video footage of the shooting was faked and his client was framed by hit men sent to kill two agents of Israel's Mossad - assertions that outraged the victims' families and survivors.
European Jewish Congress chief Moshe Kantor on Thursday condemned as a disgrace "the use of reprehensible tactics and conspiracy theories (of) the defence lawyers."
 


Trump drops new North Korea sanctions because he ‘likes’ Kim

In this file photo taken on February 27, 2019 US President Donald Trump (L) speaks with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un during a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi. (AFP)
Updated 23 March 2019
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Trump drops new North Korea sanctions because he ‘likes’ Kim

  • “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” the president’s spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Friday abruptly announced the cancelation of sanctions imposed by his own Treasury Department to tighten international pressure on North Korea.
“It was announced today by the US Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!” Trump said in a tweet.
He appeared to be referring to measures unveiled Thursday that targeted two Chinese companies accused of helping North Korea to evade tight international sanctions meant to pressure Pyongyang into ending its nuclear weapons program.
But The Washington Post reported, citing Trump administration officials, that the president’s tweet referenced future sanctions that had not been announced and were scheduled for “the coming days.”
The Thursday sanctions were the first new sign of pressure since talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un broke down in Hanoi less than a month ago.
However, Trump, who has previously spoken of “love” for the totalitarian leader, appears to retain hope that his strong personal relationship will bear fruit.
“President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary,” the president’s spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said.
Adam Schiff, a Democrat who heads the intelligence committee in the House of Representatives, blasted Trump for canceling sanctions “imposed only yesterday and championed by his own national security adviser, because he ‘loves’ Kim.”
“Foolish naivete is dangerous enough. Gross incompetence and disarray in the White House make it even worse,” Schiff tweeted.
On Thursday, Trump national security adviser John Bolton had tweeted that the sanctions were meant to put an end to “illicit shipping practices” by North Korea.
“Everyone should take notice and review their own activities to ensure they are not involved in North Korea’s sanctions evasion,” he said.
China complained, saying that it did enforce all UN resolutions and opposed “any country imposing unilateral sanctions and taking long-arm jurisdiction against any Chinese entity according to their own domestic laws.”
This was Trump’s second major, unexpected foreign policy announcement by Twitter in two days.
On Thursday, he sent a tweet reversing decades of US policy and pledged to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the hotly contested Golan Heights border area with Syria.