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Belgium sentences Paris attacks suspect Abdeslam to 20 years' jail

Abdeslam's Belgian lawyers Sven Mary and Romain Delcoigne in court before the verdict was announced on Monday Frederic Sierakowski/Pool via REUTERS

A Belgian court has sentenced sole surviving Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam to 20 years in prison for "terrorism-related attempted murder" over a shootout in Brussels. Abdeslam is to face trial in France at a later date for his alleged role in the 2015 Paris attacks.

The court passed the same sentence on Abdeslam's codefendant Sofiane Ayari.

Neither of the pair was in court.

Abdeslam, who has spent the past three years in solitary confinement, was taken to the court from France for the first day of the trial.

The 28-year-old proclaimed that he "put his trust in Allah", accused the court of being biased against Muslims and refused to attend the rest of the proceedings.

The court passed the maximum sentence that prosecutors had demanded after finding the men guilty of attempting to murder police officers who raided a flat where they were hiding.

Police injured in shootout

Four police officers were wounded in the shootout and one is still suffering the after-effects, including brain lesions, epileptic fits and vision and balance problems.

Abdeslam's DNA was found in the flat, although not on the weapons used.

He was arrested after four months on the run in Molenbeek, in the Brussels-Capital region.

According to investigators, the arrest spurred a cell he was associated with to bring forward attacks on the airport and metro that cost 32 lives.

Abdeslam, whose brother Brahim was one of the suicide bombers in the November 2015 Paris attacks, is accused of helping with logistics and ducking out of a suicide attack.