Federal Public Prosecutor cautions as to the return of jihadists to Belgium
Tuesday, 19 February 2019
The Federal Public Prosecutor, on Tuesday, warned of the difficulties which can arise upon the return of fighters from so-called Islamic State to Belgium. Jihadis who have not yet been convicted of terrorist-related crimes ‘in absentia’ could prove the most complicated to process, he added.
“Some jihadists have already been convicted ‘in absentia’ upon arrival in Belgium. They must, therefore, be taken to prison straightaway. They will be able to appeal and appear in court again,” the prosecutor told De Tijd.
He explained his apprehension in some detail. “The others, whose trial has not yet taken place, must appear before an investigating judge. The public prosecutor will request their arrest and the continuation of their respective investigations. However, in the majority of cases, evidence must be gathered. It is difficult for us to send investigators into so-called Islamic State countries.”
“…the return of fighters from abroad is a political issue. It is one upon which we have no advice to give as such. We are, that having been said, ready to implement the relevant procedures should such fighters be returned to Belgium,” concluded the Federal Public Prosecutor.
Prime Minister, Charles Michel, said on Monday that he would like foreign Jihadis detained in Syria to be tried in the region, and mentioned the possibility of creating an ad hoc international jurisdiction.