Convicted jihadist arrested for terrorism financing

Police guard in a detention center
Police guard in a detention centerPhoto: Politie

Samir A., a convicted member of terrorist organization Hofstadgroep, was arrested in Rotterdam at the end of June on suspicion of terrorism financing, his lawyer Tamara Buruma said to NOS. He is suspected of raising money for women and children in ISIS territory and is still in custody, she said.

The Public Prosecution Service (OM) suspects A. of sending money to women "who traveled ot the Middle East to participate in violent jihad". He took the money from these women's family and acquaintances and sent it to them in the Middle East through others, including another man also arrested at the end of June, the OM believes. At this stage, A. is charged with violating the Sanctions Act, money laundering, and hawala banking - a form of unlicensed banking.

The FIOD, the tax service's investigative department, searched four homes and commercial properties in the Rotterdam region on the same day that the two men were arrested. Investigators also spoke to relatives of the women involved. 

According to lawyer Buruma, A. did not finance terrorism. "This involves women and children in camps in Kurdish area, whom he has sent money, food and medicines. Money never went to ISIS," the lawyer said to NOS. According to her, the place where these children are kept is no longer ISIS territory. "The need in the camp is high."

Samir A. is known as the leader of terrorist organization the Hofstadgroep, to which Mohammed B. - the man who murdered Theo van Gogh - also belonged. In 2006, A. was sentenced to nine years in prison for preparing terrorist attacks, among other things. He was released in 2013, after serving two-thirds of his sentence.