Trial of terrorist ring begins in Belgium

BRUSSELS, May 9 (KUNA) — The trial of 16 suspected members of a terrorist ring began on Monday in Verviers city, eastern Belgium.
Nine of the 16 accused were not present at the trial, while only four of them are still in custody. One of them is Marouan El-Bali, who was present in the premises raided by police in Verviers in January 2015.
The police raided the house in Verviers and shot two persons dead, who were planning a terrorist attack. El-Bali reportedly jumped through the window.
According to Belgian media reports lot of weapons and ammunition were found in the Verviers house.
El-Bali’s lawyer Sebastien Courtoy told reporters at the court room that he wants his client to be acquitted, saying that “none of the policemen has seen him firing a gun, and no fingerprints of his, nor his DNA, was discovered on any of the weapons.” Another suspect, Souhaib El-Abdi, is also considered to one of the leaders of the gang. He denied any wrongdoing and said he travelled to Turkey in 2014 Turkey to buy clothing and to go on holiday.
Another accused, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, is believed to have plotted the Paris attacks in November 2015. He was later killed during a raid by French police in Paris. (end)

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