The trial of 13 suspected members of a terrorist network linked to mass-killing bombings in Casablanca and Madrid started in a Brussels court Thursday.
The network, the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM), is suspected of links to the al Qaeda terrorist group and is held responsible for the March 11 Madrid bombings last year which killed more than 190 people.
It is also held accountable for bomb attacks in the Moroccan capital of Casablanca and the Saudi capital of Riyadh in May 2003 which together claimed over 70 lives.
Three of the defendants are Belgians, who live in Maaseik in the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders. The other 10 are Moroccans.
One of the suspects is accused of assisting the bomb attacks in Casablanca. The group is accused of providing logistic support for the Madrid bombings.
During Thursday's mainly administrative opening session, the judge and lawyers agreed that the trial should be conducted in French. The trial was then adjourned until Nov. 16, when opening statements are expected to be presented.
If found guilty, the 13 men face five to 10 years in prison.
This is the fourth terrorist trial held in Belgium, but it is the first time that the 2003 anti-terrorism law will be applied. The new law opens up the possibility that the men could be jailed for 10 years if convicted of belonging to a terrorist organization.