Ten suspects to face trial over 2016 Brussels bombings that killed 32

Several of the defendants are also alleged to be behind the Paris attacks a year earlier

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 23, 2016, people gather at a makeshift memorial on the Place de la Bourse (Beursplein) in Brussels, a day after a triple bomb attack, which responsibility was claimed by the Islamic State group, leaving 31 dead and hundreds injured in the Belgian capital.   A Belgian court will decide on January 5, 2021, on the scope of the future trial of the jihadist attacks of 2016 in Brussels, a case in which a dozen suspects, including the Frenchman Salah Abdeslam, could being sent to a criminal court. In the morning of March 22, 2016, a double bomb attack at Zaventem airport and then in a train at Maalbeek subway station killed 32 people and three attackers, and wounded over 340. / AFP / Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD
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Ten suspects will go to trial for their alleged roles in the deadly Brussels bombings of March 2016.

Salah Abdeslam, 31, and nine others are expected to appear in court in Belgium in the second half of 2022, after a separate French trial wraps up, AFP reported.

Abdeslam, said to be the only surviving member of the group behind the November 2015 attacks in France that left 130 dead, has received more media scrutiny than the other defendants. Several other defendants are alleged to be part of the same ISIS cell that carried out the Paris attacks.

The bombings of the Brussels airport and a city centre metro station a year later were the worst attacks in Belgium since the Second World War, killing 32 and wounding 340.

The trial will be a huge undertaking, with the former headquarters of the Nato military alliance refurbished as a high-security courthouse on the outskirts of Brussels.

A panel of judges was meeting in a private session on Tuesday before deciding whether to follow the advice of federal anti-terrorism prosecutors and order a criminal trial.

But the Belgian trial is not expected before the latter half of next year. A French court will first deal with the Paris attacks case in a trial due to finish by the end of March 2022.

For Abdeslam, the Brussels trial would be his second in Belgium. The Frenchman, who grew up in the Brussels district of Molenbeek, was sentenced in 2018 to 20 years in prison for shooting at the city's police days before his arrest in 2016.

Another alleged member of the cross-border extremist network, Oussama Atar, is thought to have died in Syria, after the Paris and Brussels attacks, and could be tried in absentia.

Another suspect is Mohamed Abrini, 36, known as the 'man in the hat' after his appearance on security camera footage taken shortly before the Brussels airport bombing.

Two suicide bombers died in the airport blasts, but Mr Abrini was allegedly seen leaving the area. Another, Osama Krayem, 28, is accused of accompanying the bombers to the metro.

Others accused could face lesser charges of "taking part in the activities of a terrorism group" and some may not face trial at all because of lack of evidence.