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Stib staff sign petition in support of worker who filmed attempted murder
Some 1,600 Stib workers have signed an online petition calling on the management of the transport company to show leniency towards the employee who filmed the surveillance camera footage showing the attempted murder that took place on Friday night in the Brussels metro.
A Stib spokesperson said that the situation is being assessed and that no decision has yet been made.
Around 19.45 last Friday, a 23-year-old man pushed a woman in the back on the platform of the Rogier metro station in Brussels, causing her to fall on to the tracks. The driver of the approaching metro train managed to apply the emergency brakes and stop before hitting her.
The woman, who was not known to the suspect, escaped with just an injured shoulder. The man was arrested shortly after the incident at the nearby De Brouckère metro station. He has since been charged with attempted murder.
The incident, which was broadcast via security camera to a dispatching monitor in a control room, was filmed by a Stib staff member on his mobile phone. The video was sent to Stib employees, then journalists, before being more widely shared on social networks and by the media.
The Stib dispatcher who filmed the images has been suspended since Saturday, pending the assessment of the situation. He made his case to the management in a meeting on Monday, but a decision on his share of responsibility and what further action will be taken was postponed pending further investigation.
The signatories of the petition call on the management not to be too harsh and ask, that in the event that punishment is taken against the dispatcher, that it be proportionate.
Many elements could influence that decision such as the possible presence of a manager in the room or the possibility of that the person who filmed the video is also directly responsible for the footage making it on to social networks.
Meanwhile, the man charged with the attempted murder of the woman at Rogier station has said he does not remember the incident, his lawyer said on Wednesday, adding that his client is "himself shocked". The defence did not object to the continued pre-trial detention of the 23-year-old, which was confirmed on Wednesday afternoon.
The investigating judge in charge of the case requested a psychiatric evaluation of the suspect. Pending the conclusions of this, the young man's lawyer, Alexandre Kasongo Mukendi, did not request the conditional release of his client.
In an attempt to prevent such incidents and accidental falls on to tracks taking place, three metro stations will have so-called "platform walls" installed by 2025. The Erasme, Eddy Merckx and Coovi stations in Brussels will be the first in a gradual roll-out of the defences, according to a Stib spokesperson, who added that the decision to do so was not based purely on Friday’s incident.
"The automation of the metro is a government decision,” the spokesperson said. “There will be a test of platform walls at three stations, but this decision is separate from last week's incident. That was an isolated case, fortunately.”
The walls will provide a barrier between the platform and approaching vehicles which will automatically open once the vehicle is at a standstill to let passengers on and off.
"If we install platform walls, it is important, among other things, that all metro trains look the same. Doors should be in the same places, for example,” the spokesperson concluded.