3 Moroccans sentenced to 8 years in prison in Spain

The Criminal Chamber of the National Court in Madrid sentenced three Moroccans to eight years in prison for their involvement in jihadist recruitment and indoctrination activities.

As a double sentence, they also inherit the probation regime (six years), after having served the main sentence. It has been confirmed that they belong to a radical group which recruits adherents via the internet and other means, to train fighters ready to carry out terrorist acts in conflict zones in the Middle East in the Mena region and on the Spanish territory.

The Criminal Chamber of the National Court of Madrid therefore sentenced the three Moroccan nationals to 8 years in prison for the offense of integration into a criminal organization, referred to in articles 571 and 572.2 of the Spanish and European Penal Code. The complaint was filed by the Public Ministry, which charged the convicts with a series of extremist crimes committed during their stay at ‘Hizb Attahrir Al Islami’, a radical Islamist organization based in Barcelona, ​​which has links to terrorist groups in the Middle East.

They were found to recruit new members through the internet and clandestine meetings, during which they indoctrinated many people into jihadist ideology, which seeks to impose a universal caliphate through violence. Its purpose was to train fighters ready to fight in Syria, and even in Spain. The defense rejected the charges and asked the Court to reveal the identity of the plaintiffs, as their anonymity violates the right to an effective defense enshrined in Article 24 of the Spanish Constitution. In vain since after an in-depth analysis, the Court made a summary of all the evidence collected, which includes police reports, seized electronic devices and the statement of a protected witness, which distort the presumption of innocence of the defendants. .

Gone, therefore, are the days when the National Court of Madrid acquitted those accused of self-indoctrination of jihadist terrorism as was the case for a Mauritanian citizen in December 2020 who had been tried for a crime of self-indoctrination and self-formation of jihadist terrorism of which the prosecution accused him and for which he had requested a sentence of 4 years and 6 months in prison. The Court concluded that the prosecution’s evidence was unable to provide incriminating evidence that the accused had decided to act.

This absence of the subjective element, which must be proven, was missing from the file and had determined the acquittal. For our three Moroccan nationals, police reports, the analysis of the electronic devices seized and the statement of a protected witness were used to support the accusations. It is stated that, although the defense has provided testimonial evidence to support its allegations, this has less probative value than the inculpatory evidence provided by the applicant.

In short, the Court concludes that since the defendants are convicted of an offense of belonging to or joining a criminal organization, provided for in Article 572.1 of the Penal Code, and that the sentence provided for is eight to fifteen years of imprisonment plus an absolute prohibition, this Chamber fully understands that the (minimum) sentence of eight years of imprisonment must be pronounced against the defendants. Indeed, this is the minimum provided by the precept, since there are no particularly important and aggravating facts in the case to impose a heavier sentence. Also, based on the above, the Criminal Chamber of the National Court of Madrid decided to sentence the defendants to 8 years in prison and a 6-year probation regime, after having served the main sentence.

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