In a landmark verdict Wednesday a Belgium court sentenced Fouad Belkacem to 12 years behind bars for leading the now disbanded Islamic extremist group which had dozens of followers.
Landmark terror verdict handed down in BelgiumIn a landmark verdict Wednesday a Belgium court sentenced Fouad Belkacem to 12 years behind bars for leading the now disbanded Islamic extremist group which had dozens of followers.
Many of the 45 members of Belkacem’s ‘Sharia4Belgium’ extremist group which were convicted were not present in the Antwerp court proceedings where they were charged with belonging to a terrorist organization.
The court handed down the landmark sentence to Belkacem for radicalizing members and recruiting fighters for Syria. Sentences for followers that were convicted ranged from 3 to 5 years. One of Belkacem’s followers is 20-year-old Michael Delefortrie, who voluntarily returned from fighting in Syria and denies guilt.
Politicians from Belgium’s right wing Vlaams Belang party, which campaigns against the so-called Islamization of the West, say Belkacem’s case validates their views. Dozens of other accused members of Belkacem’s group remain abroad and face arrest if they return to Belgium.
CCTV’s Sandra Gathmann contributed to this report from Antwerp, Belgium<\em><\strong>