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    Khalid Z. denies knowing alleged jihadist fighters

    Khalid Z., one of the defendants accused of sending jihadist fighters to Syria, denied that he knew 3 brothers who went to fight in Syria, before Brussels criminal court on Monday. The presiding judge questioned Khalid Z. about a tapped phone conversation between himself and Fatima A., the mother (also on trial) of the 3 brothers who left for Syria, on Monday. During this October 2013 conversation he was heard asking the mother how one of the brothers was doing and telling her “to say hello”. Khalid Z., however, insists he knew neither Fatima A. nor the sons.

    The federal prosecutor believes that Fatima A. knew Khalid Z. and knew that her sons left to fight in Syria with the help of Khalid Z. During the conversation Khalid Z. mentions that he ‘had gone to work’ which “everyone understood to be coded language,” commented the judge.

    Thirty-two people are currently on trial for having participated in, or led, the recruitment and dispatch of jihadist fighters to Syria, and therefore for participation in a terrorist organisation, either as member or leader. Some of them are also being prosecuted for traveling to Syria to fight alongside the jihadists. Certain defendants failed to show up to court, choosing to stay in Syria or having been killed in the fight.

    Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)