Paris, September 17, 2011 (FH) - A Belgian court will decide on October 5 whether to keep Fabien Neretse, the Rwandan suspect arrested in France and transferred to Belgium, in custody or not, according to his lawyer. Pierre Monville told Hirondelle News Agency on Friday that Neretse had earlier asked for a postponment of the hearing because he is still studying the prosecution files from his prison cell in Brussels.

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"In Belgium, you don't get very good access to the file," Monville told Hirondelle. "We only have the right to read the documents at the Registry and take notes for our client. That's why we requested a postponement of the hearing which will decide if they release him or not."   

Neretse, 54, was arrested in France on June 30 and turned over to Belgium on account of a European arrest warrant issued on June 24 in Brussels. The former head of the Rwandan coffee office is suspected of involvement in the April 9, 1994 murder in Kigali of Claire Beckers, a Belgian citizen married to a Rwandan.

The Belgian victim's sister, Martine Beckers, filed an action against persons unknown in July 1994, and a criminal case was opened against Neretse in Belgium in 2004. He had been living in Angoulême, western France, for several years using his father's name, Fabien Nsabimana. Two Belgian investigators empowered by an international rogatory letter questioned him in Angoulême on June 30. He was then taken to prison in Draguignan before being transferred to Belgium.

Fabien Neretse is the fifth Rwandan taken into custody in Belgium since the beginning of 2011. The others are two alleged members of the Interahamwe militia, a former officer of the Rwandan Army (FAR) and a former prosecutor. The five suspects are still in detention "at our request", Belgian Prosecutor Philippe Meire told Hirondelle News Agency. He said he would request that the cases be joined, so that there be one joint trial.

Four trials related to the Rwandan genocide have already been organized in Belgium.


© Hirondelle News Agency