Accomplices in 2015 Paris terror attacks convicted in Brussels trial


Four people have been convicted in Belgium for aiding the terrorists who carried out the terror attacks in Paris in 2015.

The trial in Belgium took place separately from a historic case in France in the country’s worst peacetime attack.

Two of the fourteen defendants in Brussels received prison terms, while two others received suspended prison terms. Four suspects were acquitted by the court, while the judges suspended sentences for three others. Two others were convicted in absentia and the last defendant was given community service.

Abid Aberkane, the most well-known defendant, was given a three-year suspended sentence for offering his cousin Sarah Abdeslam a hiding place for three days before being arrested in Brussels in March 2016.

Abdeslam was himself sentenced on Wednesday to life imprisonment by the special court in Paris

He is the only surviving member of the terrorist cell that killed 130 people in the Paris attacks on November 13, 2015.

The Brussels criminal court ruled that Aberkane had “fed, housed and clothed” Abdeslam with full knowledge that he was wanted in connection with the Paris attacks.

But he was found not guilty of spreading propaganda from the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.

“Don’t denounce” [IS] membership or maintaining contact with members … is not punishable in itself,” said the judge.

Most of the defendants in Brussels had been charged with “participation in the activities of a terrorist group”.

But in many cases, the court said it was not clear that defendants were aware of IS terrorist activities when they received members or took them to the airport.

The suspects were mainly Brussels residents close to Abdeslam or Mohamed Abrini, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in Paris on Wednesday with a minimum of 22 years with the right to parole.

Other defendants were linked to the terrorists who carried out attacks in the Belgian capital on March 22, 2016, which killed 32 people.

Ibrahim Abrini was found guilty of helping to destroy his brother’s computer and clothing while “aware of his involvement in extremely serious acts”.

The Brussels court gave him a suspended sentence because he had no previous convictions and was already “suffering” from the bad reputation of his family name.

Lawyers for the defendants have praised the court for issuing “a very fair” [and] very correct” statement.