Dutch Prosecutor call for heavier prison terms for two jihad suspects

The Public Prosecutor in Arnhem on appeal demanded 30 months in prison, 10 of which conditionally suspended, and a probation period of two years against two suspected jihadists. The prosecutor believes that the men intended to travel to Syria to participate in the armed struggle and commit various crimes with terrorist intent.

The two suspects, Hakim B. and Mohamed el A., were arrested just over the border in Germany on August 13th, 2013. In the rental car they were driving the police found various items which the Prosecutor believes they intended to use in the fight in Syria. Items included combat and survival clothing, balaclavas, djellaba, phones, money, an explanation on how to use a Kalashnikov and videos and articles on Jihadi ideology.

The suspects also applied for new travel documents and maintained contact with people in Syria to get information on which is the best route to follow. Each of the suspects had a brother already participating in the armed struggle in Syria. Their goal was to contact their brothers once they arrived in the war-torn country.

The suspects themselves claimed that they wanted to go to Syria to provide humanitarian assistance.

When the case was first tried, the court acquitted both suspects of all charges,, saying that there is not enough evidence to prove that the men were planning to participate or facilitate the armed struggle. The items found in their rental car could serve other purposes and does not prove criminal intent.

The Public Prosecutor disagrees and appealed. "Everything in the file points to them consciously choosing a goal, which is to go fight in Syria. The suspects had the intention to join a terrorist organization in Syria and participate in the armed struggle." According to the Prosecutor, the amount of money, goods and communications found also indicated that they want to support a terrorist organization and that they did not plan to return to the Netherlands.