Drug criminal Nordin El Hajjioui this morning survived conviction on a drug trial with 51 suspects. The trial has been suspended indefinitely. El Hajjioui, who is staying in Dubai, risks twelve years in prison for importing cocaine in this case.
The trial on cocaine smuggling and arms trafficking for an Antwerp-Limburg gang was halted this morning on the second trial day. Normally, the suspects’ lawyers would plead today.
A month ago, the prosecutor had demanded 12 years in prison against drug criminal Nordin El Hajjioui. “Dikke Nordin” is said to be the leader of a drug organization that earned at least 18.4 million euros from the smuggling of cocaine and also ordered the purchase of grenades and heavy weapons for carrying out attacks.
No trial notice received in Dubai
El Hajjioui’s lawyers, Hans Rieder and Louis De Groote, believe that their client was not properly summoned. He has not received a summon to the trial at his residence in Dubai, where he has been hiding for several years. The court brushed aside that argument and decided to start the trial anyway, without El Hajjioui and his lawyers.
The lawyers Rieder and De Groote protested against this. They submitted a petition last week. The three judges started the session this morning with the announcement that the trial will be suspended indefinitely. The judges must decide within 48 hours whether to withdraw voluntarily. If they fail to do so, the ‘challenge chamber’ of the court of appeal must decide whether the judges can continue to sit.
This is the second major drug trial to be shut down by Nordin El Hajjioui’s lawyers in a short period of time. Previously, Hans Rieder and Louis De Groote already avenged the judges in the trial against Frank “De Tank” V. He is said to have smuggled at least seven loads of cocaine from the port on behalf of Nordin El Hajjioui, among others. In that case, the prosecutor demanded fifteen years in prison against “Dikke Nordin”. The appeals court has since rejected that appeal. A date for the resumption of the process has not yet been set.
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