The trial of 46 defendants in Antwerp, Belgium began on Monday as all 46 were charged with being members of a terrorist group. According to court documents, the group Sharia4Belgium, recruited volunteers to go to Syria to fight for anti-government Islamist rebels. It is worth noting that the attack in May on a Jewish Museum located in Brussels, was committed by an ISIS member who had returned from fighting in Syria.
Among the groups accused is their leader, Fouad Belkacem. Belkacem came under a verbal attack from the mother of one of the jihadists whom the group had recruited and who is currently fighting in Syria. His mother, Ozana Rodrigues, was removed from the court room after her outburst. Rodrigues story of parental outrage comes out of a case built because another parent took drastic steps to retrieve his own son who had been recruited and sent to Syria.
Dimitri Bontinck is the father of the prosecution’s star witness, Jejoen Bontinck. Both are pictured above, with the father holding a rifle. In the spring of 2013, Demitri created a media stir when he travelled to Syria to retrieve his son. In the aftermath of his son’s return to Belgium, Bontinck has now turned state’s evidence against Sharia4Belgium. Setting the stage for the dramatic case before the courts in Antwerp.
If a guilty verdict is returned in the terrorist trial, the leaders of Sharia4Belgium face a 15 year sentence while the other members face a 5 year sentence. The trial which is already underway, is expected to wrap up by the end of this week.
(Editor’s note: PolitiChicks writer Shannon Grady, stationed in Belgium, will cover the ending of the trial this weekend.)