Judge Pierre Hendrickx began his examination of the main defendant in a terrorism case, Jean-Louis Denis, at the Criminal Court in Brussels on Monday morning. The forty year-old Muslim preacher is accused of encouraging youths to join the Jihad fight in Syria. The accused refused to answer the judge’s questions. There are fourteen defendants in this case relating to young Brussels Muslims being sent to Syria to be Jihadist fighters.
The President of the 70th Chamber of the criminal court in Brussels started on Monday morning by saying that Jean-Louis Denis had been under police surveillance from 2009. He added that the surveillance was intensified after April 2013, when two students from Shaerbeek’s Fernand Blum High School left for Syria.
“The telephones of the two teenagers’ parents were monitored, and their conversations clearly show you were involved, Mr. Denis,” said the president. The defendant chose not to respond and said his attorneys would give his version of the facts in their arguments and that he might himself talk at the end of the trial.
There are more defendants in this case: Mohamed Khemir and Mickaël Devredt, as well as Khalid Zerkani, who was already sentenced by the same court in a similar case last July. The federal police raided six Brussels homes and seized documents and equipment on December 9th, 2013. Jean-Louis Denis, Khemir and three more were arrested following the raids. Devredt was arrested in February 2014. The court hearing will resume on Monday afternoon.