Belgian trial of 2015 Paris terrorist attack suspects set for September
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Belgian trial of 2015 Paris terrorist attack suspects set for September

Credit: Belga

The trial at the Belgian crime court of the 14 suspects, who allegedly helped the main plotters of the November 2015 Paris attacks, will begin this year, the federal prosecution service announced on Wednesday.

They are suspected of helping with the deadly act of terrorism later claimed by the Islamic State group (IS) on several cafés in the city and its Bataclan music venue on the evening of 13 November 2015, which killed 130 civilians and seven perpetrators.

“Twelve people will face charges for participating in the activities of a terrorist group over the attack,” Eric Van Duyse, prosecution spokesman, told AFP.

The two other suspects, who are believed to have died in Syria fighting for IS, will be tried in absentia.

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The decision announced at a closed-door hearing in Brussel on Wednesday, followed a hearing held at the Brussels Council Chamber at the start of the month to determine to what extent the 20 accused accomplices helped the perpetrators and to decide whether the cases should go forward.

The federal prosecutor’s office has previously made clear it wanted the cases of 12 suspects to face trial at the criminal court.

They are accused of helping with the transportation, housing and providing (material) support for the attacks, which are believed to have been planned in Brussels, where several of the suspects came from.

One of the men who will stand trial is facing charges in connection to hiding Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving alleged perpetrator, in his mother’s house until Abdeslam was tracked down and arrested in Brussels in March 2016.

The others are believed to be members of the group linked to Abdeslam and the attackers who carried out the Brussels bombings, that killed 32 people one year later,

Abdeslam is currently being held in a high-security prison in France awaiting trial in Paris.

The trial is expected to take place in Brussels in September of 2021 , according to the AFP news agency, at the same time when a separate trial for 20 people charged over the same attacks is expected to take place in Paris.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times