Dutch jihadists to be prosecuted as terrorist cell: report

Openbaar Ministerie
Offices of the Openbaar Ministerie, the public prosecutor of the Netherlands (mystic_mabel/Flickr). (Offices of the Openbaar Ministerie, the public prosecutor of the Netherlands (mystic_mabel/Flickr))

The Ministry of Justice will try a group of extremist muslims in The Hague as a 'terrorist organization', which may result in a life sentence for the suspects, the Public Prosecution Authority (OM) says. The group is made up of recruiters and jihadis returned from Syria, the Algemeen Dagblad reports. 

The fact that this group now falls under suspicion of being a 'terrorist organization' has far-reaching consequences, the paper writes. If the judge also sees the group as such, then they will be responsible for each others' actions. Group leaders could get life imprisonment, and the supporters can be in prison for up to 15 years.

According to the Algemeen Dagblad, five of the six group leaders are already in custody. The sixth, a 40-year-old man, is suspected of having fled to Syria this summer with his wife and two young children.

The police have been following the suspects' movements since 2013, according to the file from the Ministry of Justice, the AD writes. The investigation led to the arrest of 12 suspects, six of whom seem to have formed a terrorist organization.

The 32-year-old Azzedine C., aka 'Abou Moussa', as the chief leader in this group. The 24-year-old Rudolp H., or 'Abou Souhayb', and 18-year-old Oussama C. also play prominent roles within the network. These three were apprehended this summer and are being contained at special terrorist wards.

According to Rudolph H.'s lawyer, this is a stopgap measure from the OM. "The OM is trying to increase the chance of conviction this way, there are few concrete suspicions against my client."