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Police patrol outside the Brussels justice palace during the trial of Saleh Abdeslam and Soufiane Ayari in Brussels.  --Photo AP

Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam gets 20 years in related case

BRUSSELS (AP) -- A Brussels court on Monday found 2015 Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam and an accomplice guilty of attempted murder over shots fired at police they sought to avoid arrest in a Brussels suburb.
The court 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.
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 cooperate since. He is being held in a prison in northern France. 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.

(Latest Update April 24, 2018)


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