Eight Brussels jihadists given eight days to hold on to their Belgian nationality
Share article:
Share article:

Eight Brussels jihadists given eight days to hold on to their Belgian nationality

© Belga

Eight Islamic State (IS) supporters from Brussels have been stripped of their Belgian nationality, in the latest move by a Belgian court to keep foreign terrorist fighters from returning to the country.

The decision to strip the eight fighters of their nationality was taken in absentia by the Brussels Court of Appeal, which also sentenced them to at least five years imprisonment.

The whereabouts of the eight men is unknown and they no longer have any known addresses abroad or in Belgium, which they are thought to have left to go join the ranks of the IS in Syria and Iraq.

Related News:


The eight convicts, all from Brussels, now have eight days to appeal the decision before it becomes final, Le Soir reports.

Seven of them had already been tried and sentenced in absentia in the 2015 terrorism trial of Khalid Zerkani, sentenced for radicalising and recruiting at least 59 youths, mostly from the Brussels municipality of Molenbeek, between 2012 and 2013.

Two of the most prominent convicts are 36-year-old Yassine Lachiri and 31-year-old Gelel Attar, both of whom where among the 31 men tried and sentenced in the Zerkani trial.

Ahead of his radicalisation, Lachiri had already been convicted of manslaughter for a drug-related murder. He is known to have travelled to Syria on at least two occasions in 2013.

Attar, who had known links to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, one of the organisers of the 2015 Paris attacks, is believed to have left for Syria in January 2013.

While he reportedly returned to Belgium in May of that same year, his current whereabouts are unknown, De Standaard reports.

The move by the Brussels court follows several previous rulings to strip Belgian terrorist fighters of their nationality, as Turkish authorities live up to ongoing warnings that they would send foreign terrorist fighters back to their home countries.

In Belgian law, any double national who is convicted for terrorist offences and sentenced to at least five years imprisonment stands to lose their Belgian passport.

For convicts like Lachiri, a Belgo-Moroccan national, who do not revoke the court’s decision within the given delay, the move would mean they would be expulsed to Morocco.

Following a previous decision by the Brussels Court of Appeal to strip six IS supporters of their Belgian nationality, two of them had appealed the decision in an effort to remain Belgian.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

More women take police selection tests in Belgium
The selection tests to become a police inspector have more and more female participants, according to figures released by Interior Affairs Minister ...
‘Absurd’: all Brussels schools should have the same Covid rules
Several city councillors for education in Brussels are calling to abolish the "absurd" differences in coronavirus measures for Dutch-speaking and ...
Massive renovations for iconic venue in the heart of Brussels
Brussels concert hall Ancienne Belgique has announced plans to renovate the AB Café and the AB Salon and is looking for a contractor fit for the job. ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...
Test results show pupils have fallen behind in Flemish schools
Learning delays have been reported in almost all subject areas in Flanders since the start of the pandemic, a trend that continued in 2021, a ...
Belgium considers relaxing testing rules for UK travellers
At the next Consultative Committee meeting, Belgium will look into relaxing the testing and entry policy for travellers coming from the United ...
Jette libraries start giving plants away with books
Visitors to libraries in the Brussels municipality of Jette will soon be able to pick up a free plant along with a book, thanks to the new Plantotek ...
‘Do what you want, but do it as safely as possible,’ experts warn
As the daily number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 3,000 for the first time since May, infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe and ...
‘We’re running dry’: Brussels teacher shortage reaches critical levels
The teacher shortage in Brussels is affecting schools across language borders, according to Brussels’ Minister for Multilingualism and Dutch ...
New coronavirus infections above 3,000 for first time since May
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has skyrocketed to the highest rate since the start of May 2021. Between 9 and 15 October, ...
Belgium in Brief: Getting To The Airport
When I saw the news of plans for a tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels' outskirts to the airport, my first reaction was sheer joy.  Let ...
EU should invest €5 trillion in climate plan, says State Secretary for Economic Recovery
The European Union must invest €5 trillion in its climate plan over the next decade to "retain its credibility as a political project," according ...