Crime & Justice

6 Convicted for deadly 2016 terror attacks in Belgium

Brussels, Jul 25 (EFE).- A Belgian jury returned guilty verdicts Tuesday for six of the eight people charged with terrorist murder in connection with March 2016 bombings in Brussels that left 32 people dead and 300 wounded.

Convicted were Brussels native Salah Abdeslam, already serving a life sentence in France for the 2015 attacks in Paris; Mohamed Abrini, Osama Krayem, Ali El Haddad Asufi, Bilal El Makhoukhi, and alleged mastermind Osama Atar, who is thought to have been killed in Syria in 2017 and was tried in absentia.

Jurors acquitted two men on the charge of terrorist murder and the other two defendants in the largest trial in Belgium’s history were accused of other offenses.

After seven months of hearings, the 12 members of the jury began deliberating on July 6 and remained sequestered for 18 days while formulating responses to 287 questions as a basis for deciding on defendants’ guilt or innocence.

Presiding Judge Laurence Massart began reading the verdict shortly after 7:00 pm, nearly five hours later than expected.

The jurors and the three magistrates will reconvene in September to decide on sentencing.

Amid security concerns, the trial was held at the former NATO headquarters.

The deadliest attacks in Belgium since World War II unfolded on March 22, 2016, when Islamic State terrorists detonated bombs at Zaventem Airport and on a metro train.

The same ISIS cell planned the November 2015 attacks in Paris, which claimed 130 lives, and the bombings in Brussels.



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