Six bombers convicted for murder for part in Brussels 2016 terrorist attacks which killed 36 people at airport

25 July 2023, 19:26 | Updated: 25 July 2023, 23:02

The exploded departure hall pictured at Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, Tuesday 22 March 2016. At least 13 people have been killed after two explosions in the departure hall of Brussels Airport.
The exploded departure hall pictured at Brussels Airport, in Zaventem, Tuesday 22 March 2016. At least 13 people have been killed after two explosions in the departure hall of Brussels Airport. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Six terrorists have been convicted of murder and attempted murder for their part in the 2016 Brussels bombings.

32 people were killed in the deadly attacks at Brussels Airport in March 2016 - which were followed by attacks on the Brussels metro train which killed 15 men and 17 women.

The attacks were the deadliest in Belgium since the Second World War - and now six people have been found guilty of murder in the European hub.

Read More: Imran Khan gains protection from arrest over multiple terrorism charges

One of the group is presumed dead fighting in Syria - but was tried and found guilty in their absence during the proceeding which took place over seven months in NATO's former headquarters and cost at least £30.2million to conduct.

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The terrorism trial took place over seven months in NATO's former headquarters and cost at least £30.2million to conduct. Picture: Getty

Salah Abdeslam, a member of the group also convicted for his role in attacks on Paris which killed 130 people in 2015, was considered to be the ringleader of the Brussels attacks and was duly convicted for his role in Belgium too.

Abdeslam was allowed to be transported from his life-without-parole sentence in France to answer for his horrific crimes in Belgium.

The attacks led to a Europe-wide manhunt which culminated in a police raid and shoot-out in March 2016 which saw Abdeslam arrested alive.

BELGIUM-ATTACK-JUSTICE-TRIAL
Salah Abdeslam, a member of the group also convicted for his role in attacks on Paris which killed 130 people in 2015, was considered to be the ringleader of the Brussels attacks and was duly convicted for his role in Belgium. Picture: Getty
BELGIUM-ATTACK-JUSTICE-TRIAL
Mohamed Abrini, a childhood friend of Abdeslam had been meant to be killed in a suicide attack but had a change of heart when he saw women and children in Brussels Airport. Picture: Getty

The other men convicted in Belgium included Mohamed Abrini, a childhood friend of Abdeslam who was supposed to have been killed in a suicide attack but had a change of heart when he saw women and children in Brussels Airport.

The morning rush hour attacks on March 22, 2016 at Zavantem Airport and on the Brussels subway's central commuter line deeply shook the city, home to the headquarters of the European Union and Nato, and put the country on edge. In addition to the 32 people killed, nearly 900 others were wounded or suffered serious mental trauma.

Jamila Adda, president of the Life4Bruxelles victims' association, gathered a group of survivors at the special courthouse to hear Tuesday's verdict. Among them was a man named Frederic, who said the '"atrocious crimes" of March 22 still haunt him.

The Bataclan Theatre is the place, where the most people of...
The attacks came mere months after the terrorist attacks which rocked Paris - centred around the Bataclan nightclub. Picture: Getty

"We have been waiting for this for seven years, seven years that weighed heavily on the victims ... We are waiting with impatience, and with some anguish" for the verdict, he told The Associated Press.

Frederic, among the commuters who survived the attack at the Maelbeek metro station, spoke on condition that his last name not be published to protect his identity.

Survivors have supported each other through the proceedings, some coming every day.

"It is important to be together, to hear the decision of justice," Frederic said. And then, they hope "to be able to turn the page".

The 12 jurors have been deliberating since early July over some 300 questions the court asked them to consider before reaching a verdict.

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