AFP : A Belgian court on Friday handed out sentences ranging up to life in prison to eight men for the 2016 jihadist bombings in Brussels, ending the country’s largest-ever criminal trial.
The suicide bombings on March 22, 2016 at Brussels’ main airport and on the metro system killed 32 people and were claimed by the Islamic State group.
French citizen Salah Abdeslam and Belgian-Moroccan Mohamed Abrini-already sentenced to life in jail by France for a 2015 massacre in Paris-were the highest-profile of six culprits found guilty of murder in July.
Abrini, who was one of the designated bombers but decided not to blow himself up at the last moment, was given a 30-year jail term.
The court ruled not to give Abdeslam an additional term after he was sentenced in Belgium to 20 years in 2018 over a shootout.
The bombings-near the headquarters of both NATO and the EU-were part of a wave of attacks claimed by the Islamic State group in Europe.
Hundreds of travellers and transport staff were maimed and, seven years on many victims, relatives and rescuers remain traumatised by the biggest peacetime attack in Belgium.
Authorities later raised the official death toll from the attacks to 35, after finding a link between the trauma suffered and the later deaths of three more people.
Dozens of wounded survivors and bereaved relatives gave emotional testimony during the months of hearings.