The Belgian Court of Appeal has ruled to remove the passports of six Islamic extremists convicted of terror offences in absentia in 2015 after they left the country to fight for jihadist groups in the Middle East.
The six men, Ali and Said El Morabit, Ilyass Boughalab, Bilal Elhamdaoui, Azdine Tahiri, and Fouad Akrich, were all dual nationals with citizenship in both Morocco and Belgium, and were all activists with the group “Sharia4Belgium,” 7sur7 reports.
The whereabouts of the six men remain unknown, although several sources believe that some of the jihadists were killed while fighting for terrorist groups in Syria.
While the move to strip the six men of their Beglian citizenship had been made some time ago, the public was only informed of the move on Thursday and published in Flemish media. Given that none of the men holds addresses in Belgium, none of them were personally informed that their passports were revoked.
Denmark to Revoke Citizenship from Danish ISIS Fighters https://t.co/silHsnc5YZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 15, 2019
The six men were not the only ones in Sharia4Belgium convicted on terror charges in 2015. The group’s leader Fouad Belkacem was convicted of sending men to fight with terror groups in Syria and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Belkacem, also a Moroccan national, was known in Belgium for conducting street sermons and was a major figure in the pro-sharia movement in the country. Sharia4Belgium was also linked to the Paris Bataclan attackers, several of which were Belgian nationals.
Belgium’s move to strip the jihadist fighters of their passports comes as several other countries in western Europe have done the same. Denmark announced plans to strip the citizenship of Islamic State fighters in October, for example.
“These are people who have turned their backs on Denmark and fought with violence against our democracy and freedom. They pose a threat to our security. They are unwanted in Denmark,” Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen said.
Norway has implemented similar measures, revoking the residence permits of any individuals who left Norway to fight for the Islamic State terror group abroad.
Swedish PM: ISIS Fighters Can Return, Refuses to Strip Citizenship https://t.co/PCTRjLQaRV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 5, 2019