Belgium to try 14 suspects linked to 2015 Paris attacks
14 people will be put on trial in Belgium accused of having helped the gunmen and suicide bombers who attacked targets across Paris in November 2015. Investigators believe the attacks were planned mostly in Belgium, where several of the suspected attackers came from.
In a closed-door hearing, federal prosecutors decided to try 14 out of 20 people suspected of having transported, housed or provided material support to the attackers of the Bataclan theatre and other targets in Paris who killed 130 people.
The attacks were claimed by the Islamic State armed group, and twelve defendants will face charges of "participating in the activities of a terrorist group".
Some will face charges linked to helping Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving alleged perpetrator, to hide until he was found in Brussels and arrested in March 2016. Abdeslam stood trial in Brussels in 2018.
One suspect, Abid Aberkane, is accused of hiding Abdeslam at his mother's home in the last days before his arrest. The case against his mother was dismissed, along with four other people.
Two suspects, Sammy Djedou and Youssef Bazarouj, believed to have died fighting for the Islamic State in Syria, will be tried in absentia.
Prosecutors accuse the other defendants of having connections not just with Abdeslam, but also those involved in the 2016 Brussels bombings, which killed 32 people.
The decision to send the suspects to trial is subject to appeal. The trial could start in the second half of 2021 in Brussels, which would coincide with the prosecution in Paris of 20 other suspects more directly connected to the attacks. That trial is expected to start 8 September and last six months.
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