Fouad Belkacem regrets his actions wishing to stay in Belgium
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Fouad Belkacem was sentenced, in 2016, to 12 years in prison for being the leader of the terrorist group Sharia4Belgium. His lawyer states that he told the Constitutional Court on Tuesday that he regretted his actions. The Court, sitting “in camera” for security reasons, had four preliminary questions referred to it by the Antwerp Court of Appeal. These related to the application, from the Prosecutor-General’s Office, as to stripping Belkacem of his Belgian citizenship.
The Prosecutor-General’s Office considers that Fouad Belkacem is a “permanent threat to public security”. He was in “serious breach of his obligations as a Belgian citizen.” Belkacem, who also has Moroccan nationality, requested that the Court of Appeal cancel the application to deprive him of Belgian citizenship.
The Court of Appeal decided, at the end of 2016, that four issues should be referred to the Constitutional Court.
Attending the hearing, Fouad Belkacem had the right to speak. His lawyer, Liliane Verjauw, said, “He made known his regrets and acknowledged that he had gone too far. He also said that he felt Belgian and that he wished to stay in Belgium, as he no longer had any links with Morocco. His family’s history in Belgium dates back some 50 years. This shed light upon the human dimension of a highly theoretical issue.”
The date upon which the Constitutional Court’s decision will be given is not yet known. Me Verjauw believes that this might take several months. The Antwerp Court of Appeal will then resume the court case.