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Tuesday 21 August 2018

Terror suspect jailed for 20 years over attempted murder of police

Salah Abdeslam and an accomplice were handed the maximum sentence permissible over the incident in March 2016.

A court sketch of Salah Abdeslam, second right, and Sofiane Ayari, second left, at an earlier hearing (AP)
A court sketch of Salah Abdeslam, second right, and Sofiane Ayari, second left, at an earlier hearing (AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Paris terror attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam and an accomplice have been guilty of attempted murder over shots fired at police they sought to avoid arrest in a Brussels suburb.

The court in Brussels handed both Abdeslam and Sofiane Ayari the maximum 20-year sentence.

It said the “terror character” was clearly established in the March 2016 shooting, four months after the Paris attacks that killed 130 in November 2015.

Court president Luc Hennart said the two chose not to attend the reading of the verdict and sentencing. Abdeslam attended the opening day of the trial in February but has refused to co-operate since. He is being held in a prison in northern France.

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Lawyers for the accused, Sven Mary, left, and Romain Delcoigne attend the trial of Salah Abdeslam and Sofiane Ayari, at the Brussels justice palace (AP)

It is unclear when he will face trial over the Paris attacks.

The conclusion of the case at Brussels’ ornate palace of justice took place amid tight security set up by the armed forces and police.

Abdeslam was close to being arrested in a hideout when he and Ayari fled, while another man sprayed gunfire at police and was killed. Three officers were wounded.

Three days later, Abdeslam was captured in Brussels. Four days after that, extremists struck in the Belgian capital, killing 32 people in bomb attacks at the airport and on the subway system.

Press Association

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