Six men found guilty of terrorist murders over 2016 Belgium attacks
A jury delivered a verdict Tuesday over Belgium’s suicide bombings at the Brussels airport and a busy subway station in 2016 that killed 32 people in a wave of violence in Europe claimed by the Islamic State group.
Six men were found guilty of terrorist murders including Oussama Atar (presumed dead), Mohamed Abrini, Osama Krayem, Salah Abdeslam, Ali El Haddad Asufi and Bilal El Makhoukhi.
The verdict brings to an end the biggest trial in Belgium's judicial history with more than 900 plaintiffs. It unfolded over seven months in a special court to address the exceptional case.
The suspects were tried on charges including murder, attempted murder and participation in the acts of a terrorist group.
The morning rush hour attacks on March 22, 2016 at Zavantem Airport and on the Brussels subway’s central commuter line deeply shook the city. In addition to the 32 people killed, nearly 900 others were wounded or suffered serious mental trauma.
Sentencing will be decided in a separate process, not before September.
In addition to the six people convicted of terrorist murder, four others on trial were acquitted or facing other charges.
Among the 10 defendants is Salah Abdeslam, who is already serving a life sentence without parole in France over his role in attacks that hit Paris cafes, the Bataclan Theatre and the Stade de France in 2015.
Also convicted of terrorist murder at the trial in Brussels was Mohamed Abrini, a childhood friend of Abdeslam and a Brussels native who walked away from Zaventem airport after his explosives failed to detonate.
Oussama Atar, who has been identified as a possible organiser of the deadly attacks on both Paris and Brussels, was convicted of terrorist murder in absentia. He is believed to have died in the Islamic State group's final months of fighting in Iraq and Syria.