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Victims of 2016 terror attacks take Belgian state to court

The memorial wall at the Maelbeek Metro station in Brussels, one of the scenes of the March 2016 terror attacks (BELGA PHOTO)
06:01 12/05/2021

The case against the Belgian state brought by nine victims of the terror attack on Brussels Airport in March 2016 will go to trial on 8 September, the French-speaking Court of First Instance declared this week.

The nine victims, represented by lawyer, Nic Reynaert – himself a victim of the 22 March attack on the Brussels metro - claim that they have not received adequate support and information from the Belgian state. Several of the victims have also subpoenaed the federal police for perceived flawed procedures in the aftermath of the attack.

In addition, Reynaert is representing 10 victims in a case brought before the Dutch-speaking Court of First Instance, also expected to go to trial in September. "We ask that the victims receive adequate medical information,” the lawyer told reporters. “We want to know from Brussels Airport if asbestos was present." 

Regarding the subpoena issued against the federal police, Reynaert said that several of his clients were officers who were present at the airport at Zaventem on the fateful day. "These are people who have subpoenaed their employer because we believe the federal police have remained flawed in providing crucial medical information and procedures," Reynaert said.

"In a bomb explosion, there may be acoustic trauma. In the army, soldiers are immediately informed about this. That doesn't happen with the police. Furthermore, there has also been no proper follow-up on possible post-traumatic stress disorder and subsequent support."

Reynaert has also subpoenaed the Belgian state in his own name because he felt that, like many other victims of the Maelbeek metro bombing, he was abandoned by the government. "This was done by not responding adequately on the day of the attack, but also by concealing crucial medical information and by making the procedures for compensation unnecessarily complicated."

Written by Nick Amies