Today, for many Belgians, the process of the century starts in Brussels. The nine suspects in the bloody attack in Brussels on 22 March 2016 are going to court. In those bombings at Maalbeek metro station in Brussels and Zaventem Airport, 32 people were killed and more than 340 people were injured.
For days, Belgian media have been looking ahead to the lawsuit. According to the judiciary, the nine men belong to the same terror cell responsible for the attacks in Paris at the end of 2015, and the only attacker, Salah Abdeslam, who survived Paris, is now also on trial for the attacks in Brussels. He already received a life sentence in France at the beginning of this summer.
Although the attacks in Brussels are now 6.5 years ago, many victims still feel the consequences. Inne de Bruyn is at the airport that morning with her two daughters and husband. They arrive early at Zaventem taking into account the long traffic jams in the morning between Antwerp and Brussels.
They have breakfast together at an airport coffee shop when they hear a deafening bang. “After the first explosion, my husband was right to realize that it was a bomb. We brought our children under a table and lay over them. Then the second bomb went,” says De Bruyn.
Together with her family, she is getting rid of it relatively well. However, her husband still suffers from ringing in the ears. A few months after the attack, she learns from the prosecutor that they were even luckier than she thought. The third attacker who decided not to detonate his bag at the last minute was only 5 meters away from De Bruyn and her family.
Every day, she still thinks back to those moments at the airport. “You have a form of constant vigilance. You are always looking where is the entrance, who is near you. You are constantly screening. That is very tiring,” says De Bruyn. She and her husband have not been sleeping together since the attacks because they both wake up every night with nightmares. For the whole family, this process is important. They follow todays session from home, but they want to be there in the substantive treatment.