A Belgian court has handed down sentences ranging up to life in prison to eight men for their involvement in the 2016 jihadist bombings in Brussels. The suicide bombings, which took place on March 22, 2016, at Brussels’ main airport and on the metro system, resulted in the deaths of 32 people and were claimed by the Islamic State group. French citizen Salah Abdeslam and Belgian-Moroccan Mohamed Abrini, who were already sentenced to life in jail by France for a 2015 massacre in Paris, were among the six culprits found guilty of murder in July.
Abrini, one of the designated bombers who decided not to detonate his explosive at the last moment, was given a 30-year jail term. Another defendant, Osama Krayem, a Swede of Syrian descent, was also handed a life sentence. Bilal El Makhoukhi, Oussama Atar, Herve Bayingana Muhirwa, and Sofien Ayari received varying prison terms for their involvement in the attacks.
The trial, which began at the end of last year, was held under tight security at the converted former headquarters of the NATO military alliance. The bombings, which occurred near the headquarters of both NATO and the EU, were part of a wave of attacks claimed by the Islamic State group in Europe. The court ruled not to strip any of the convicts of their Belgian nationalities.
The sentencing marks the end of Belgium’s largest-ever criminal trial.