249 individuals sentenced for terrorism in the period 2014-June 2016
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    249 individuals sentenced for terrorism in the period 2014-June 2016

    © Belga
    Significant numbers of terrorism-related sentences have been handed down in Belgium during recent years.
    © Belga

    The number of individuals in Belgium sentenced for terrorism, either at first instance or on appeal has increased greatly since 2014, reaching 249. This encompasses the period from January 1st, 2014 to June 2016.

    This has been indicated by the Minister of Justice, Koen Geens.

    The number of individuals sentenced for terrorism fluctuated during the period 2006 to 2013, between two (in 2011) and fourteen (in 2006).

    The number then grew significantly from 2014, going up to 55 that year, 115 in 2015 and 79 for the first six months of this year.

    Mr Geens (from the Flemish Christian Democrats) stated this in response to a written parliamentary question from the deputy question Olivier Chastel.

    The latter also happens to be the President of the MR (the Conservative-Liberals).

    Last July, thirteen of those sentenced received a custodial sentence.

    Mr Geens’s spokeswoman, Sieghild Lacoere, for her part, explained yesterday (Thursday) that the low number of people imprisoned was due to the number of convictions which took place in absentia. An example of this is where fighters have joined the ranks of jihadists in Syria.

    She was particularly keen to point out that the number of sentences is far higher than the number of people actually affected.

    This occurs because in some cases an individual may be sentenced on three occasions (in absentia at first instance and when opposing or appealing the sentence).

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times