Tuesday, 17 March 2015
The terrorism trial for Sharia4Belgium will start at the Antwerp appeal court on the 2nd of April. Three defendants should be present: Fouad Belkacem (32), Houssein E (24) and Mohamed E Y. (31). During this session, only the dates to properly deal with the case will be fixed, we learned from the appeal court. The correctional tribunal recognised Sharia4Belgium as a terrorist group in February, and considered Fouad Belkacem its founder and uncontested leader. It also said he was responsible for radicalising young people who went to fight in Syria. He was sentenced to twelve months in prison and a 30,000 euro fine.
An identical sentence was handed down to Houssien E. The tribunal considered he was an active member of Sharia4Belgium, and helped to reinforce the ranks of Jabbat Al-Nusra and Majlis Shura Al-Mujahidin, which are also considered terrorist groups.
Houssein E is said to have died in August 2013, which explains why his lawyers did not immediately appeal. They asked for the procedure against their client to be declared invalid, but the tribunal used the lack of evidence of his death to throw-out their appeal.
Mohamed E Y was sentenced to four years in prison and a 15,000 euro fine. He is the only fighter to have come back from Syria and accept a prison sentence due to a previous conviction. Some of the defendants convicted, including Jejoen Bontinck and Michäel Deleforte, decided not to appeal. Most of the 45 defendants did not appear at indictment. A 46th was said to be incoherent.