The family of a Bataclan victim takes Belgium to court

EPA/PATRICK SEEGER

The Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France,

Unusually, the family makes its case directly in the European Court of Human Rights


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The parents of Valentin Ribet, 26, one of the 130 victims of the November 13 Paris attacks, asked the European Court of Human Rights on Monday to rule whether Belgian authorities violated his “right to life.”

the lawyer of the Ribet family, Samia Maktouf, claims that the Belgian protection and surveillance system effectively failed Valentin, allowing the terrorists infiltration in French territory. Ribet was one of the 90 victims of the Bataclan concert hall. As Maktouf represents a number of families, the ECHR ruling will set a precedent with a bearing on several cases.

The mastermind of the Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, and his accomplices Salah Abdeslam, Brahim Abdelslam, were both from Molenbeek, Brussels. The family’s lawyer argued that the assailants were radicalized, trained, and prepared for their attacks in Molenbeek, despite surveillance by Belgian authorities.

Another Belgian assailant was  Chakib Akrouh, killed with Abaaoud during a raid in Paris.

Abaaoud and Abdeslam had been able to go back and forth between the two countries before the attacks “despite surveillance by the Belgian authorities,” said Maktouf, who represents several victims’ families.

The case brought against Belgium was anything but surprising. The mother of the victim, Nadine Ribet-Reinhart, had announced she would be taking legal action against Belgium. French officials had even linked Abdelhamid Abaaoud to a foiled attack against a Thalys train attack in northern France in August 2015. She holds Belgian authorities responsible for not arresting these suspects.

(France 24, AFP, BBC)

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