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Belgian court gives heavy sentences to Verviers ISIL cell members

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Belgian court gives heavy sentences to Verviers ISIL cell members

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A Belgian judge on Tuesday sentenced 15 members of an ISIL militant cell, nine of them
in absentia, to up to 16 years in prison after convicting them of plotting attacks on targets
including Brussels airport.

Islamic militants killed 32 people in Brussels on March 22, although prosecutors
said the men sentenced on Tuesday played no part.

“It is not a decision of justice. Obviously, Paris and Brussels impressed the judges and they give exaggerated sentences. Now for judges it seems what is credible is becoming justice. My feeling is that verdicts to set an example certainly do not make fair justice and it won’t prevent things from happening,” said Xavier Carette, lawyer for one of the accused.

Prosecutors said the Verviers group was also in constant contact with Abelhamid 
Abaaoud, a prominent ISIL figure who planned several attacks in Europe including
the deadly Paris attacks last November.

Abaaoud was shot dead in a gunbattle with French police five days after the 
November 13 attack in Paris.

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