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    Court Sentences Main Suspects in Belgium’s Deadliest Peacetime Attack to 20-Year to Life Terms

    Court Sentences Main Suspects in Belgium's Deadliest Peacetime Attack to 20-Year to Life Terms

    (AP) — A Belgian court on Friday sentenced five men to sentences ranging from 20 years to life in prison on charges of terrorist murder in connection with 2016 suicide bombings that killed 32 people and wounded hundreds at Brussels airport and a busy subway station, the country's deadliest peacetime attack.

    A chief suspect, Salah Abdeslam, had previously been given a 20-year sentence for involvement in a shootout days before the March 22, 2016, attacks and received no further jail time. It happened after police discovered him and another suspect by accident when they inspected what they thought was an empty apartment. Four officers were hurt.

    Abdeslam was serving a life sentence without parole in over his part in attacks that hit Paris cafes, the Bataclan theater and France's national stadium in 2015. Both the Paris and Brussels attacks were linked to the same Islamic State network.

    Taking the stand at a high security court in Brussels on Monday before the jury and magistrates retired to deliberate on sentences, Abdeslam implored them for leniency, insisting that he did not take part in the suicide bombings in – two at the 's airport and one on a subway train during the morning rush hour – and was not aware of the plot.

    “I have been demonized. You've condemned someone who doesn't deserve it,” the 34-year-old Frenchman said, according to Belgian daily Le Soir. “I ask you…

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