A Belgian prosecutor on Monday called for a 20-year prison sentence for Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of the 2015 Paris terror attacks that left 130 people dead and nearly 500 others wounded.
An accomplice, Sofien Ayari, is also on trial with Abdelslam. He was arrested after shooting at Belgian police during a raid on a Brussels flat that the two were hiding in with other terror suspects in 2016.
Federal prosecutor Kathleen Grosjean’s request that Abdeslam and Ayari each receive 20-years is the maximum sentence allowed under Belgian law.
“I keep silent, it’s my right. That does not make me a culprit. Silence is my way of defending myself,” said Abdeslam, who previously refused to appear or be photographed in public.
Asked by the president of the court, Marie-France Keutgen, why he wanted to attend the trial, Abdeslam said, “I came because I am an actor in this lawsuit. I find that Muslims are ruthlessly judged. There is no presumption of innocence. In this case, there is tangible, scientific evidence. I hope we do not act ostentatiously to please the public or the media. I testify that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. Judge me, make me what you want. I’m not afraid of you, your allies, or your associates. I place my trust in Allah, my Lord”.