Belgian court convicts suspects over role in 2016 Brussels attack | News
Six men have been convicted for two coordinated attacks claimed by ISIL that shook Belgium’s capital.
A Brussels court has convicted six men of murder and attempted murder for their role in the 2016 bombings in the Belgian capital that killed 32 people and injured more than 300.
The two coordinated attacks at Brussels Airport in Zaventem and at Maelbeek metro station in central Brussels were claimed by the ISIL (ISIS) armed group.
The verdict marks the final chapter in the country’s biggest trial in judicial history, which counted more than 900 plaintiffs and unfolded over more than half a year in a special court to address the exceptional case.
Twelve jurors had been deliberating since early July over some 300 questions the court asked them to consider before reaching a verdict.
Among those convicted was Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in a French trial over earlier attacks in Paris, who was seized four days before the Brussels attacks.
Abdeslam is already serving a life sentence without parole in France over his role in attacks that hit Paris cafes, the Bataclan theatre and France’s national stadium in 2015.
He was the only survivor among the ISIL members who struck Paris in November 2015 and were part of a Franco-Belgian network that went on to target Brussels four months later.
Oussama Atar, a childhood friend of Abdeslam and a Brussels native who walked away from Zaventem airport after his explosives failed to detonate, was tried in absentia.
He has been identified as a possible organiser of the deadly attacks on both Paris and Brussels.
He is believed to have died in ISIL’s final months of fighting in Iraq and Syria.
Osama Krayem, Mohamed Abrini, Ali El Haddad Asufi and Bilal El Makhoukhi were charged with murder, attempted murder and participation in the acts of a “terrorist” group.
The morning rush hour attacks on March 22, 2016 at Zavantem airport and on the Brussels subway’s central commuter line deeply shook the city – headquarters of the European Union and NATO – and put the country on edge.
In addition to the 32 people killed, nearly 900 others were wounded or suffered serious mental trauma.