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Belgian lawyer says Jewish Museum terror suspect may have brain tumor

Mehdi Nemmouche, alleged killer of four in 2014 attack, has been in solitary confinement without trial for three years

Pictures released on June 1, 2014, show then-29-year-old suspected terrorist Mehdi Nemmouche. (AFP)
Pictures released on June 1, 2014, show then-29-year-old suspected terrorist Mehdi Nemmouche. (AFP)

BRUSSELS — The lawyer of a Frenchman accused of shooting dead four people at a Jewish Museum in Belgium says his client may have a brain tumor and is being denied medical treatment.

Mehdi Nemmouche is suspected of gunning down the four with an assault weapon in the Brussels museum in May 2014. He has been in solitary confinement without trial for three years.

Lawyer Sebastien Courtoy said Thursday that a medical expert believes Nemmouche should have medical tests and scans. Courtoy said his client is going blind and deaf but that the prison is refusing treatment.

Courtoy said Nemmouche is incapable of attending or following a trial. No trial is likely before September 2018.

Lawyers for Mehdi Nemmouche, a French suspect in the Brussels Jewish museum attack, Henri Laquay, center, and Sebastien Courtoy, right, speak with the media at the Palace of Justice in Brussels on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

He said: “There won’t be a Nemmouche trial. There’ll be a sham Nemmouche trial.”

On May 24, 2014, Nemmouche is believed to have opened fire in the entrance hall of the museum in the center of the Belgian capital, killing two Israeli tourists, a French volunteer and a Belgian museum receptionist.

The museum reopened four months later under heavy security.

Nemmouche was arrested six  after the attack in the southern French port city of Marseille and sent to Belgium two months later, where he faces trial at an unspecified date in the future. He was arrested during a routine customs inspection with a bag full of weapons similar to the ones used at the museum.

Nemmouche, who is believed to have fought with Islamists in Syria, was under surveillance by French and Belgian security services, according to prosecutors in both countries. French authorities have identified him as one of the jihadists who kept four French journalists hostage until they were freed in April 2014 in Syria.

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