Sunday, February 15, 2015

Belgian Court Sentences Islamist Leader to 12 Years in Prison

Armed police outside the courthouse in Antwerp after the 
verdict was given on Wednesday. Photo: Zuma Press
Judge Rules Islamist Group That Sent Dozens to Fight in Syria Is Terrorist Organization
A heavily guarded Belgian court ruled on Wednesday that an Islamist group that sent dozens of its members to fight in Syria was a terrorist organization, sentencing its founder to 12 years in prison.
The verdict, in one of Europe’s most high-profile efforts yet to crack down on citizens going to Syria, delivers crucial legal backing to the Belgian authorities in their efforts to dismantle European recruitment networks for Islamic State and other terrorist groups.
Belgian police inspect the entrance of an apartment in central 
Verviers in January. At least two people were killed when 
counter-terrorist police raided an apartment used by 
suspected Islamist radicals. Photo: Reuters
The number of people going to Syria from Belgium is one of the highest in Europe in per-capita terms. Belgian authorities have increasingly arrested and prosecuted people suspected of planning travel to the Syrian battlefields.
Those efforts intensified after Belgian police last month shot and killed two men and arrested more than a dozen others who authorities say were part of a plot to kill police. Authorities believe the two slain men, both Belgian citizens, fought in Syria, possibly with a group allied to Islamic State.
Fouad Belkacem, was sentenced to 12 years in prison
Members of Sharia4Belgium stood accused of carrying out robberies, assault, kidnapping and, in a few cases, murder in Syria.
“No question, Sharia4Belgium is a terrorist group,” the chief judge said Wednesday
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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