Belgian court to hand down verdict to Paris attacks suspect

Benoit PEYRUCQ

Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam convicted in Belgium

A Belgian court found Abdeslam guilty of attempted murder in a "terrorist context", a spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor confirmed.

The only surviving suspect in the 2015 Paris attacks has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his involvement in a 2016 gunfight with police in Brussels.

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.

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His arrest on March 18, 2016, was the culmination of a four-month manhunt after his alleged participation in the 2015 Paris attacks in which 130 were killed. The oral view of this trial was held last February and showed a Abdeslam strongly radicalized and without any intention of cooperating with justice. Abdeslam will go on trial for the Paris attacks in 2020.

Abdeslam was close to being arrested in a Brussels hideout when he and Ayari fled.

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

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On that day, French and Belgian researchers were caught by gunfire during a record in one of terrorist cell shelters in Brussels municipality of Forest. Three officers were wounded, one of whom has suffered brain lesions, epileptic fits and problems with balance and vision.

Salah Abdeslam was involved in a shootout with police in Brussels in March 2016. Neither of the defendants were present during the verdict hearing.

Abdeslam is in a French prison awaiting trial over claims about his role in the Islamic State attack in Paris over two years ago.

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