Six foreign fighters stripped of Belgian nationality

Six foreign fighters stripped of Belgian nationality
The current whereabouts of the men stripped of Belgian nationality are unknown. Credit: © Belga

A Brussels court has stripped six foreign fighters of their Belgian nationality, after being sentenced to prison in absentia for their involvement in the terror group Sharia4Belgium.

The six fighters all had Belgo-Moroccan nationality and could not be notified of the court's decision since they no longer have valid addresses in Belgium, De Standaard reports.

They all left for Syria and were tried and sentenced in absentia during the 2015 trial on the group Sharia4Belgium, where 44 people were sentenced for participating in a terrorist organisation.

The group includes Bilal Elhamdaoui, also known as Abu Mansour, who was reportedly in charge of spreading propaganda for the extremist group Sharia4Belgium, which recruited and radicalised several people in Belgium before it dissolved ahead of the trial.

A former student in Deurne, Fouad Akrich, was also among the six people stripped of their Belgian nationality. Akrich's family said he was brainwashed by Sharia4Belgium, and that he ran away from home in 2012 to travel to Syria.

The group also includes two brothers from Antwerp, Ali and Said El Morabit, who left for Syria in 2012 and are both presumed dead.

Said El Morabit's wife, Bouchra Abouallal, is currently in Turkey with her sister-in-law Tatiana Wielandt and six children, and they are expected to be transferred to Belgium.

The fifth in the group is Ilyass Bouhalab, alias Abou Djarrah, a former technician at the Doel nuclear plant who is thought to have died in Syria alongside his wife

Lastly, the ruling also concerned Azdine Tahiri, or Abu Zubair, who had been arrested in 2012 in Yemen and extradited to Belgium, which he left again after his release to travel to Syria. His whereabouts are unknown.

The group of six are the latest to be stripped of their Belgian nationality by a court, after 15 people were hit by the same sentence, according to a statement by Justice Minister Koen Geens on 10 December.

If no appeal is filed within eight days, the court's decision will become final.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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