Isa Gultaslar, counsel for Sofien Ayari, confirmed to Belga news agency on Tuesday night that his client would not appeal against his conviction by the Brussels correctional court for his part in the shootout in Forest in 2016. Ayari and Salah Abdeslam were both sentenced by the court on the 23rd of April 2018 to 20 years in prison along with a fine of 12,000 euros and barred from exercising their civil and political rights. Abdeslam also decided not to appeal.
The two were among three men who had been involved in a shootout on the 15th of March 2016 in Rue du Dries, Forest, against French and Belgian policemen. Many police officers were wounded while the third occupant of the apartment where the three were holed up, Mohamed Belkaid, was killed. Ayari and Abdesalam managed to escape but were arrested a few days later.
The court found that their intention to commit murder had been proven, given the type of weapons they used, the number of bullets fired – 34 in all – and the fact that a policeman was shot on the side of his head.
The judges also ruled that the terrorist nature of their act had been established. “During the search (at the apartment in Rue du Dries), the context was the same as in the Paris attacks, and the Belgian and French police were searching assiduously for Salah Abdeslam,” they stated in their ruling.
The Brussels Times