Belgian court sentences Paris suspect Abdeslam to 20 years in jail

Belgian court sentences Paris suspect Abdeslam to 20 years in jail

Earlier: A Belgian court has found the sole remaining suspect in the 2015 Paris terror attack guilty of attempted terrorist murder in a separate incident.

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

Salah Abdeslam was involved in a shootout with police in Brussels in March 2016.

Handout file picture shows Belgian-born Salah Abdeslam on a call for witnesses notice released by the French Police Nationale information services on their twitter account November 15, 2015. His lawyers do not dispute Abdeslam was in Paris during the attacks. "It is for that reason that I had to fight the enemies of Allah with all my strength".

Salah, who had handled a vehicle rental and other logistics, fled Paris on the night of the 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 attended the opening day of the trial in February but has refused to co-operate since.

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Belgian judge Marie-France Keutgen speaks in the courtroom during the announcement of the sentence in the trial of Salah Abdeslam and co-defendant Sofien Ayari, in Brussels, Belgium April 23, 2018.

Investigators say Abdeslam's arrest spurred the Brussels bombers to bring forward the 2016 attacks, which had originally been planned for a later date, as they feared they could be captured.

Abdeslam's DNA found at the scene linked him to the shootout and that led to his arrest three days later in a different apartment in Brussels.

The judge said that "there can be no doubt" about the two men's involvement with "radicalism".

One of the injured police officers was still suffering from after-effects including brain lesions, epileptic fits and vision and balance problems.

An organisation representing victims of the Brussels attacks and their families is seeking symbolic damages of one euro.

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