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Belgium: Terror Suspects Convicted, Sentenced

(May 13, 2010) It was reported on May 10, 2010, that eight people were convicted in Belgium for leading a terrorist group and recruiting people to fight for the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The fighters were recruited from Belgium and France. (Belgium Convicts Eight on Terrorism Charges, BBC NEWS, May 10, 2010, available at

Among the convicted was Malika El Aroud, a Belgian woman born in Morocco, who received a sentence of eight years of imprisonment for “creating, directing, and funding” a terrorist cell. (Nic Robertson & Paul Cruikshank, Belgian Court Convicts Three of Recruiting to Fight in Afghanistan, CNN AFGHANISTAN CROSSROADS, May 10, 2010, available at
.) El Aroud's actions included establishing a website,, designed to recruit participants to work for al-Qaeda. (Marco t'Hoen, Belgian Terrorist Recruiter Convicted, THE EPOCH TIMES, May 11, 2010, available at Her first husband, Abdessatar Dahmane, had carried out a suicide bombing attack on September 9, 2001, that killed Ahmed Sha Massoud, then head of the anti-Taliban group Northern Alliance, in Afghanistan. El Aroud's second husband, Moez Garsallaoui, was tried in absentia and sentenced to eight years as well. (BBC NEWS, supra.)

El Aroud had been arrested with eight others in 2009; prosecutors stated that plans for a suicide attack had been found at that time. One member of the group was acquitted, while the other seven were given sentences of imprisonment ranging from three to five years. (Id.; Robertson & Cruikshank, supra.)