Between August 2015 and July 2017, no less than 289 individuals were sentenced in Belgium for terrorist-linked crimes. Of these 121 were sentenced in absentia.
In July 2017, 94 of these individuals were held in Belgian prisons, and five in foreign prisons. This is according to figures supplied by the Minister of Justice, Koen Geens. He was responding to a written question by the deputy Jan Penris (from Vlamms Belang – the Flemish right-wing populist and nationalist party).
Apart from these 99 individuals imprisoned, a further individual was subject to a detention measure. Four others were questioned by the Immigration and Asylum Office.
A further 54, who were sentenced, were freed subject to a conditional discharge. These were monitored by the appropriate local police, justice centres and local task forces.
In July of this year, ten others sentenced had already served their sentences. The minister’s response indicates that this final category of individuals were also monitored by the local services mentioned above.
The 121 individuals sentenced in absentia include fighters who are still in Syria, or indeed those who have died there.