Antwerp man jailed for two years over false bomb threat

Antwerp man jailed for two years over false bomb threat
© Belga

A court in Antwerp has sent a 24-year-old man back to jail for two years over a fake bomb threat sent out via Twitter last year.

In October of last year, a man identified as Wildi E., sent out a message on Twitter claiming to have hidden two bags of bombs inside a train between Belgium and the Netherlands.

The alert triggered an emergency response in Antwerp Central Station, with authorities searching three full trains before concluding there was nothing suspicious onboard.

The investigation revealed that the Twitter account out of which the hoax bomb threat was sent had been created the same day, Het Nieuwsblad reports.

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Along with the threat, the author of the tweet also wrote: "Bring our brothers back from Syria or the consequences will be for you," an apparent reference to the Belgian nationals who remain in Syria after they left Belgium to join the Islamic State and other terror groups in the war-torn country.

The incident took place as the Belgian government was facing mounting pressure over the fate of country nationals still in Syria and Iraq, with top international security officials urging Belgium to repatriate and prosecute them.

After the investigation into the tweet led into his arrest, he denied being the author of the tweet and said that he had been set up, but the court on Tuesday found him guilty, topping off his 2-year sentence with a €2,400 fine.

At the time of the false bomb threat incident, Wildi E. was on parole under electronic surveillance following a previous conviction.

In 2017, Wildi E. was sentenced to four years in prison over riots in the Antwerp district of Luchtbal which broke out after the violent arrest of a then 22-year-old man who suffered an eye-socket fracture at the hands of police in 2016, which led Antwerp police department to open an internal investigation.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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