Paris terror attack
Paris terror attack Christian Hartmann/REUTERS

The trial of 14 people accused of helping an Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist cell that killed 130 people in the gun and bomb attacks across Paris in 2015 began in Belgium on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

The 13 men and one woman are accused of supporting the terrorists before their attacks on the evening of November 13, 2015, and afterwards for the one attacker who survived and returned to Brussels.

Nine accused were present on Tuesday, seven seated at the front of the court, two led in by guards to closed glass boxes. Two accused are believed to have died in Syria.

12 of the accused face charges of leading a terrorist group or participating in terrorist activities, with potential prison terms of up to 15 and five years respectively.

Prosecutors say they helped attackers travel to Syria or supplied them with arms.

Some are accused of secretly housing Salah Abdeslam, a 32-year-old French national of Moroccan origin who is the main suspect in the attack.

Abdeslam hid in Brussels for four months until his capture, four days before a twin attack in Brussels that killed 32 people.

In 2018, a Belgian court sentenced Abdeslam and a co-accused to 20 years in prison for trying to kill police during a shootout in Brussels in 2016.

Abdeslam’s trial in France continues. This past September, Abdeslam acknowledged his role in the Paris attacks for the first time. Last week, he apologized to the victims.

Two of the group on trial in Belgium face non-terrorist charges, one for having supplied false documents to those involved in both the Paris attacks and the bombings at Brussels Airport and on the Brussels metro in March 2016. The other is accused of handling arms and explosive material.

Hearings are scheduled to run until May 20, with rulings expected by the end of June.

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