Meknes – Authorities transferred Belgian-Moroccan former jihadist fighter Fouad Akrich from Turkey to prison in Belgium on Tuesday, November 24, according to Brussels Times.
Fouad Akrich left Belgium for Syria in 2012. He was active along with other five Moroccan jihadists in the Sharia4Belgium organization. Belgium sentenced the six to a five-year prison sentence in 2015 in absentia for belonging to the terrorist group.
Turkey managed to apprehend Fouad Akrich on December 24, 2019, along with his Dutch wife and their three children, according to De Morgan. His family remains in a center awaiting transfer to the Netherlands.
Belgium stripped Fouad Akrich and the five other Moroccan-born convicts, brothers Ali and Said El Morabit, Ilyass Boughalab, Bilal Elhamdaoui, and Azdine Tahiri, of their Belgian nationality, the country’s Official Gazette announced earlier in 2020.
Akrich’s lawyer stated that he “had opposed this conviction and as there is no final criminal decision, the revocation of his nationality was suspended.”
The lawyer said that he was able to meet with his client on November 26. “He has been questioned and his appeal file can begin in early 2021,” he added.
The judiciary has prosecuted Sharia4Belgium for recruiting militants to send to terrorist groups. In 2015 Belgium sentenced the leader of Sharia4Belgium, Fouad Belkacem, to 12 years in prison for sending jihadists to Syria.
Sentences for all 44 other members, including the six mentioned above, ranged between three and 15 years. Authorities apprehended seven members of the group, while the rest were thought to still be in Syria, with suspicions that some may be dead.