Both defendants were convicted of supporting, assisting and collaborating with Islamic terrorism, “in apparent competition with the crime of financing terrorism”.
The court absolved them, however, of the crimes of membership and recruiting militants for terrorist organisations.
The judgment proved that Cassimo Turé and Rómulo Costa “were aware of the political-military situation experienced in Syria, while also being aware of the extremist political-religious conventions of Nero Saraiva, Sadjo Turé (Cassimo’s brother), Edgar Costa and Celso Costa (brothers of Rómulo), Fábio Poças and Sandro Marques, as well as their intention, in an organised way, through a group they formed in the United Kingdom (London), to join terrorist organisations”.
Such organisations - advances the collective court chaired by Francisco Coimbra - were namely ISIL and ISIS, Brigade of Emigrants and later Islamic State (IS), with these friends and brothers of the defendants “becoming members” of these movements “recognised internationally by the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) as terrorists”.
The court also found it proved that the condemned (Cassimo and Rómulo) knew that “this same group was self-financing, through fraudulent schemes and that the same members recruited, convinced and referred and recruited young people “to the ranks of those organisations and that “logistically and financially supported their travel to Syria, through the purchase of airline tickets, goods and services, payment for stays in hotels, food and transport, among others”.
In the opinion of the panel of judges, chaired by Francisco Coimbra, the defendants also knew that such members of their group and their families - women and children - had the purpose of integrating and joining the ranks of these terrorist organisations.
The condemnatory judgment also states that the facts practiced by Cassmimo Turé and Rómulo Costa (support for terrorism, in apparent competition with the financing crime) called into question “particularly serious” relevant legal assets such as the “integrity and independence of States, the functioning of the institutions, security, life, freedom, order, public tranquillity, so they are “generators of high disturbance and social instability, not only national, but international”.
The panel of judges further emphasised that such “fighters from those terrorist organisations have indiscriminately killed and tortured victims in the conflict in Syria and Iraq, continuing to do so in terrorist attacks around the world”, including in Cabo Delgado (Mozambique) and Tanzania.
According to the final part of the judgment, to which Lusa had access, the defendants Cassmimo Turé and Rómulo Costa “always acted freely, deliberately and consciously, knowing that their conduct of support and support to the referred group (Islamic radical) and its members were prohibited and criminally punishable activities”.
Among many other points, and also regarding Rómulo Costa, in preventive detention in Portugal since 2019, the court says that wiretapping shows that this defendant, when he learned of the murder of a British soldier in London, perpetrated by an Islamic radical, in May of 2013, commented: “He fell and more will fall”.
The collective chaired by Francisco Coimbra rejected the defence’s argument that the actions of the accused were due to “immaturity” or “a bad joke among teenagers”, stating that Rómulo Costa was already 30 years old and the intercepted conversation was a dialogue “between adults fully engaged with the extremist” Islamic cause.
Ricardo Serrano Vieira, representing the defence, announced that he will appeal the decision in terms of fact and law to the Lisbon Court of Appeal and criticised the excessive use by the court of “indirect proof”.
This process, in which the former MEP Ana Gomes was heard as a witness by Rómulo Costa, resulted from an investigation of judicial cooperation between the Portuguese and British authorities, with the MP concluding that all the defendants joined forces, recruited and financed themselves as IS, while supporting the move of Portuguese and British citizens to Syria to fight alongside the jihadists.