Journalist identifies Brussels museum shooting suspect as former captor | News | DW | 06.09.2014
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Journalist identifies Brussels museum shooting suspect as former captor

A French journalist who was held hostage for almost nine months has identified the suspect in a shooting at the Brussels Jewish Museum as one of his captors. Mehdi Nemmouche is accused of killing four people.

Freed French hostage Nicolas Henin said on Saturday that the suspected gunman who carried out a deadly shooting at the Brussels Jewish Museum was one of the captors who tortured him in Syria.

Henin, who had been covering the country's civil war, was held hostage between July 2013 and April this year.

Between July and December, Nemmouche was a feared and regular visitor to him and other Western journalists being held in Aleppo.

"When Nemmouche was not singing, he was torturing," wrote Henin in remarks published on Saturday. "He was part of a small group of Frenchmen whose visits would terrify the 50-odd Syrian prisoners held in the cells nearby."

Belgien Attentat Jüdisches Museum Brüssel Gedenken

Four people died in the attack, which took place in broad daylight

"Every night the blows would start raining down in the room, where I was also interrogated," Henin added in remarks carried by the website of French magazine Le Point, one of Henin's former employers. "The torture lasted all night, until dawn prayers."

Held with beheaded reporters

Henin was held for a time with US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, both of whom were beheaded by extremists from the Islamic State group in the past month. He was released in April along with a group of other French journalists who described being held in several underground places of captivity.

Nemmouche is currently being held in custody after the May 24 shootings that left four people dead. He is due to appear in court on September 12, where a judge will decide whether to extend his preventative detention.

A Frenchwoman, a Belgian man and an Israeli couple died in the attack which took place in broad daylight. The killings crystallized the fears of European governments that their own citizens fighting as jihadists in Syria could pose a terrorism threat when they return home.

Nemmouche was arrested in the southern French city of Marseille several days after the attack and later extradited to Belgium.

rc/lw (AFP, AP, dpa)

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