3 individuals convicted in the trial of the terrorist group Sharia4Belgium, Fouad Belkacem, Houssein E., and Mohamed E.Y., have appealed their sentence. The deadline for filing an appeal was Thursday. Fouad Belkacem and Houssein E. were each sentenced to 12 years in jail and a 30,000-euro fine for heading a terrorist group. F.Belkacem’s defence team disputes the court’s argument that Sharia4Belgium is a “terrorist group.”
Attorneys for Houssein E. put forward their client’s death in August 2013 to reject the sentence against him. The court argued that they had no credible proof of his demise and explained that jihadists sometimes managed to simulate their death to avoid criminal proceedings.
Mohamed E.Y. was sentenced to 4 years in prison and a 15,000-euro fine and is the only one of the fighters back from Syria to have been effectively sentenced. He had already been sentenced to 18 months in prison for selling stolen goods in 2007 and could not therefore get a suspended sentence. To explain his appeal he alleges that he went to Syria for humanitarian reasons, but the court says they have proof he was involved with the terrorist organisation Majlis Shura Al-Mujahidin.
The schedule for the appeal proceedings has not yet been announced.