French journalists taken hostage by ISIS identify Brussels Jewish Museum killer as jailer

Two French journalists testified in a Brussels court on that Mehdi Nemmouche, who is on trial for the Jewish museum attack, had imprisoned and tortured them in Syria.

The journalists appeared as character witnesses in the trial. In court at the end of January, Nemmouche insisted again that he was not behind the attack that killed four people.

“I have absolutely no doubt about the fact that Mehdi Nemmouche who is present here was my jailer and torturer in Syria under the name of Abu Omar,” said Nicolas Henin, one of four journalists who was kidnapped in June 2013 and held by the Islamic State armed group in northern Syria until April 2014.

Didier Francois, another of the hostages, also testified. He said he “had no doubt” Nemmouche was the jailer, and that Nemmouche had hit him with “around 40 blows of a truncheon”, among other abuses.

Investigators say Nemmouche launched the attack shortly after returning from Syria, where he had allegedly fought on for jihadist groups.

Nemmouche’s lawyers have called the prosecution’s use of the journalists’ testimony a “stunt” and a “trial within a trial” because their kidnapping is the subject of separate legal proceedings in France. The trial is due to last until the end of February or early March.

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