ISIS returnee released on probation by Bruges court

ISIS returnee released on probation by Bruges court
A Belgian mother of two who returned to the country from Syria has been conditionally released by a Bruges court. Credit: © Belga

A Flemish ISIS returnee was released by a Bruges court on Monday under certain conditions, including that the mother of two, who returned to Belgium from Syria in 2017, stays away from social media.

The 26-year-old woman's release was granted upon the condition that she does not leave the European Union, that she stays away from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for a three-year period and that she does not come into contact with other radicalised Muslims.

The decision to suspend the woman's prison sentence was justified by her otherwise clean criminal track record as well as by the fact that she had displayed "genuine guilt" over her actions, according to Het Laatste Nieuws.

"During the debates, she demonstrated a long-standing and persistent desire for social and family reintegration," the ruling stated, according to the Dutch-speaking daily.

Upon her return to the country in 2017, public prosecutors had originally called for a four-year prison sentence for the woman, referred to as CH and who is reportedly from the Flemish town of Baaigem.

An investigation opened into her reported radicalisation in 2015 led to the discovery that she had flown to Syria in 2014 after coming in contact with an Islamic State (IS) fighter through Facebook, whom she later married.

She became pregnant with a first child shortly before her first husband died in combat, and in 2015 remarried another IS fighter, from whom she also became pregnant.

Investigators were able to trace several messages on her social media accounts in which she glorified IS and both of her partners.

Pregnant with her second child, she was able to escape from Syria in 2016 and return to Belgium in March 2017, with both of her young children.

Upon her arrival, she was arrested and held in custody for six months before requesting her acquittal from the court.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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