Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out

Lester Mason
April 23, 2018

Abdeslam has been extradited to France, where he is being held in custody on the outskirts of Paris.

Four days after that, 32 people were killed in twin terror attacks at Brussels airport and at a metro station.

Judge Marie-France Keutgen told the courtroom that 28-year-old Abdeslam and Tunisian Sofien Ayari, 24, had been found guilty of "attempted terrorist murder" during the shootout in March 2016.

The 20-year sentence is maximum envisaged in Belgian Penal Code, although it is possible to add more years of imprisonment if or offences accumulate.

Although Abdeslam is in a French prison awaiting trial for his participation in terrorist attack in Paris, which occurred in November 2015, Belgium also judged him for an incident with police that preceded attacks in Brussels.

Court president Luc Hennart said the two chose not to attend the reading of the verdict and sentencing.

The only surviving suspect in the 2015 Paris attacks has been found guilty of attempted murder for his involvement in a 2016 shootout with police in Brussels.

The conclusion of the case at Brussels' ornate palace of justice took place amid tight security set up by the armed forces and police. It came four months after the Paris attacks that killed 130.

Abdeslam was arrested three days later in the Molenbeek area of the Belgian capital, near his family home.

Abdeslam was present on the opening day of the trial, but refused to answer the judge's questions.

Investigators say Abdeslam's arrest spurred the Brussels bombers to bring forward the 2016 attacks, which had originally been planned for a later date, as they feared they could be captured.

Police patrol outside the Brussels justice palace during the trial of Saleh Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari in Brussels, Monday, April 23, 2018.

But lawyers for police wounded in the gun battle accused Abdeslam of "mocking" the trial.

One of the injured police officers was still suffering from after-effects including brain lesions, epileptic fits and vision and balance problems.

He has been linked to the alleged perpetrators in the Brussels attacks, but has not been named as a suspect.

Abdeslam's brother Brahim was one of the suicide bombers.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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