Six men have been convicted guilty of murder and attempted murder in relation to the horrific terrorist attacks that shook the Belgian capital Brussels in 2016. The attacks, orchestrated by a Belgo-French cell of the terrorist organization Islamic State, resulted in 32 fatalities and over 300 injuries, leaving a nation and the international community in mourning.
The trial, regarded as the largest in Belgium’s legal history, involved more than 900 civil plaintiffs seeking justice for the victims and their families. The accused were brought to justice four years after the devastating attacks on Brussels airport and a metro station near the EU headquarters during the morning rush hour.
Salah Abdeslam, a prominent figure among the convicts, was already serving a life sentence in France for his involvement in the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, which claimed the lives of 130 people. Abdeslam and four other defendants were permitted to be transported to Belgium to face justice for their role in the Brussels attack, thanks to the cooperation of French authorities.
The judgments handed down by the court were met with mixed outcomes for the accused. Two defendants were ruled not guilty of murder but were found guilty of membership in a terrorist organization. Meanwhile, two others were acquitted of all charges, sparking debates and discussions over the extent of their involvement and potential implications on national security.
Among those convicted is Mohamed Abrini, infamously known as the “man in the hat,” who remarkably survived the assault despite being a key figure in the terrorist cell. Abrini’s role and actions during the attacks were thoroughly scrutinized during the trial, leading to his eventual conviction.
The trial proceedings were conducted under heightened security measures, ensuring the safety of all involved parties and attendees. The court’s decision marks a crucial step towards justice for the victims and sends a strong message to those who perpetrate acts of terror on innocent civilians.
The 2016 Brussels attacks, which caused extensive destruction and impacted people from nearly a dozen nations, had long-lasting repercussions on Belgium’s collective psyche. The trial offered an opportunity for the nation to heal and for the victims’ families to find closure after enduring years of grief and pain.