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Belgian Court Sentences Paris Attack Suspect To 20 Years In Separate Trial


A court artist drawing shows Salah Abdeslam, one of the suspects in the 2015 Islamic State attacks in Paris, in court during his trial in Brussels in February.

A Belgian court has sentenced Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in coordinated November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, to 20 years in prison after convicting him of the attempted terrorist murder of police officers during a shootout in Brussels in 2016.

The verdict and sentencing on April 23 were not directly related to the attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.

Abdeslam, 28, and his alleged accomplice, Sofien Ayari, a 24-year-old Tunisian, were tried on suspicion of shooting at Belgian and French police who raided a suspected hideout in a Brussels borough on March 15, 2016.

Abdeslam was finally arrested on March 18, 2016, close to his family home in the poor Brussels area of Molenbeek.

Ayari also received a 20-year term for attempted terrorist murder.

Neither Abdeslam, who is being held in jail in France pending a separate trial over the 2015 Paris attacks, nor Ayari was in court in Brussels for the verdict.

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

Prosecutors say he is the lone survivor of an Islamic State (IS) suicide squad that carried out the bomb-and-gun attacks on November 13, 2015.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP
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