In 2018, 46 terrorism trials are being held or will be held in Belgian courts, writes Le Soir on Friday on the basis of data provided by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office. In total, 85 defendants will be tried in these cases. The 46 trials cover all types of terrorism-related offences, from “participation in the activities of a terrorist group” to “terrorist financing” and “attempted murder”, as was the case in the trial against Salah Abdeslam and Sofien Ayari in the shooting at Rue du Dries.
A significant number of cases have been accumulated since the wave of terrorist fighters going to Syria and Iraq in 2013-2015.
Moreover, the judicial bottleneck has lessened since late 2015, with an increase in the number of judges dealing with terrorism, explains Thomas Renard, senior researcher at the Brussels based Egmont Institute, in an interview in Le Soir.
The legacy of the Islamic State in Belgium is not over yet, writes the newspaper. A trial results often in imprisonment, and after the sentence has been served the challenge of release from prison. Estimates of the number of inmates in Belgian prisons convicted for terrorism-related offences vary from 230 to 450.
“There is a much job to be done by the judiciary, the prison world and the administrative and local services,” says Renard.
The Brussels Times