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Salah Abdeslam gets 20-year sentence in Brussels trial

Salah Abdeslam convicted for his role in a 2016 gunfight in Brussels, four months after the Paris attacks.

The only surviving suspect in the 2015 Paris attacks has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his involvement in a 2016 gunfight with police in Brussels. 

Salah Abdeslam was convicted of attempted murder along with his co-accused Sofien Ayari, who also received a 20-year prison sentence, at a court in the Belgian capital on Monday morning. Neither of the defendants were present during the verdict hearing. 

Abdeslam was on trial for his role in a shoot-out between himself and two accomplices and police who had come to search the house in which he was hiding out on March 15, 2016. 

One suspect, Mohamed Belkaid, was killed in the raid, while Abdeslam and Ayari got away. Three police officers sustained minor injuries. 

Abdeslam, a 28-year-old Belgium-born French national of Moroccan ancestry, was captured three days later in the Molenbeek neighbourhood of Brussels along with Ayari.

His arrest on March 18, 2016, was the culmination of a four-month manhunt after his alleged participation in the 2015 Paris attacks in which 130 were killed.

He fled the city after the attacks, which were claimed by ISIL. Hours later, he was stopped and questioned by police at the French-Belgian border before he was allowed through.

After his arrest, Abdeslam reportedly told Belgian investigators he had planned to blow himself up at the Stade de France but then changed his mind. 

Abdeslam was extradited to France in April 2016 and remains in custody on the outskirts of Paris. 


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