Brothers of Moroccan origin sentenced to 8 years in prison in Spain

Spanish Justice sentenced three brothers of Moroccan origin Khalid, Belkacem and Hicham Lamghari to eight years in prison. They had created a jihadist indoctrination cell, tricking a man into going to Syria to join a criminal organization to fight and be killed in a bomb attack.

The three brothers, had been arrested two years ago by the police in July 2020. The Spanish National High Court considers it proven that the defendants were part of a cell belonging to the radical Islamist group Hizb U Tahrir al Islami located in Badalona (Barcelona), which “ proceeded to recruit and indoctrinate people in this city and other nearby cities in order to educate and radicalize them in the jihadist ideology “.

Indeed, once the radicalization process was completed, “the group sent them to these conflict zones to commit acts of terrorism or to wage war with IS”. The ultimate goal is to establish in Syria “an Islamic caliphate under the sole law of Islam, the Sharia”. The defendants carried out their work of recruitment and indoctrination through meetings in homes or public places in Badalona. They had various documents with radical jihadist content, as well as access to various Internet sites where they participated in forums in which he promoted and justified Islamic jihad and the need and obligation to impose the universal caliphate.

The court presided over by Francisco José Vieira considers it proven that they indoctrinated at least one of their neighbors from Badalona. The latter having started a jihadist ideology in prison, had completed and perfected it upon his release with the condemned brothers before going to Syria via Turkey to fight alongside terrorist organizations. He died in a bomb attack. The Chamber based its prosecution evidence on the statement of a repentant witness protected under police surveillance. The documentation and computer media seized from the three accused, as well as from the handwritten diary of the deceased in Syria, indicated his radicalization and his exile to fight in Syria.

During the trial, the defense asked to know the identity of the prosecution witness, in vain, this was refused by the judicial jurisdiction. The witness, one of the central elements of the condemnation, is a childhood friend of the deceased and attended his indoctrination. The sentence is very close to the nine years in prison required by the prosecutor José Perals. These eight years in prison pronounced against the three brothers are the minimum sentence for the crime of belonging to a criminal organization. The defense can always appeal against the conviction to the Appeals Chamber by resorting to the same High National Court or, subsequently, to the Supreme Court.

In 2020, 24 of the 37 jihadists, (62%) by the Spanish security forces and bodies were citizens of Moroccan nationality, the Spanish Executive indicated in a parliamentary response. The detainees for alleged “jihadism” in Spain were of five different nationalities, Moroccan, Spanish, Algerian, Syrian and Egyptian.

In a March 2021 interview with Reuters, the head of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), Haboub Cherkaoui, said that his services had contributed through the information provided to arrest jihadists or thwart attacks in France, Belgium , Italy, Spain, Germany, Burkina Faso, Sri Lanka and the United States.

In the same interview, it was stated that a total of 1,645 Moroccans had joined jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, of which 745 died in suicide attacks or in combat. Most of them had fought for the Islamic State. (IS) or Daesh. Since its creation in 2015, the BCIJ has dismantled dozens of militant cells and arrested more than a thousand suspected jihadists.

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