Imam Iquioussen maintains his refusal to be handed over to France

Moroccan imam Hassan Iquioussen confirmed Thursday his refusal to be extradited to France, during a new hearing in Belgium on the execution of the European arrest warrant (EAW) issued against him, said his Belgian lawyer. Nicholas Cohen.

The indictment chamber of the Mons (south) Court of Appeal will deliver its judgment on Tuesday.

Unlike the Belgian prosecutor’s office, which favors his surrender to French justice, the 58-year-old imam, arrested in Belgium six weeks ago and now under house arrest under electronic surveillance, believes that the conditions for applying the EAW are not reunited.

His lawyers ensure that the offense charged in France (“evasion from execution of a removal measure”) “does not exist in Belgian law”, which is supposed to be the case, explained Cohen.

Furthermore, a European arrest warrant is only valid ” only when a prison sentence is incurred”, added the lawyer. Gold “in European law it is forbidden to provide for a prison sentence for behavior linked to illegal residence or refusal to deport“, he continued, citing case law from the Court of Justice of the EU.

Hassan Iquioussen, arrested on September 30 in the Mons region, in French-speaking Belgium, was at the heart of a political and legal imbroglio this summer in France.

At the end of July, the French Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin announced the expulsion of this preacher from the North, on file S (for state security) by the intelligence services. The decree reproaches him “a proselytizing discourse interspersed with remarks inciting hatred and discrimination and carrying a vision of Islam contrary to the values ​​of the Republic”.

But Hassan Iquioussen could not be found when this decree, which he had challenged in court, had been definitively validated by the Council of State on August 31.

According to his French lawyer, Me Lucie Simon, his client “purely and simply respected French law by leaving France for Wallonia”.

In October, during the examination in first instance of the arrest warrant, the chamber of the council of the court of Tournai (west) had refused the surrender to France. The prosecution immediately appealed.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal will also be subject to appeal, this time before the Court of Cassation of Belgium.

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