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."
 


Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins Ukraine elections after incumbent president Petro Poroshenko concedes defeat

Updated 21 April 2019
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Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins Ukraine elections after incumbent president Petro Poroshenko concedes defeat

  • Petro Poroshenko tried to rally Ukrainians around the flag and national identity
  • Zelenskiy is a comedian with no political experience and few detailed policies

KIEV: Incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Sunday conceded he had been soundly defeated in a run-off vote by comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy and would be leaving office next month, but said he did not plan to quit politics altogether.

Ukraine entered uncharted political waters on Sunday after an exit poll showed Zelenskiy, a comedian with no political experience and few detailed policies, had easily won enough votes to become the next president of a country at war.

The apparent landslide victory of Volodymyr Zelenskiy, 41, is a bitter blow for incumbent Petro Poroshenko who tried to rally Ukrainians around the flag by casting himself as a bulwark against Russian aggression and a champion of Ukrainian identity.

Poroshenko said the results were "clear" and a reason to "call my opponent and congratulate him", after exit polls showed the performer taking 73 percent of the vote.

"I will leave office but I want to firmly stress -- I will not quit politics," he added.

Zelensky vowed to "reboot" peace talks with separatists that also involve Russia and the West.

"In any case we will act within the Normandy framework, we will continue with the Minsk talks, we will reboot them," Zelensky told a news conference.

"I think we will have personnel changes there," he added.