Lisbon court delays IS recruiter appeal

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 09-01-2020 09:00:00 · 0 Comments

The Lisbon Court of Appeal (TRL) has postponed its decision on the appeal of the Moroccan sentenced to 12 years in prison for recruiting operatives for the radical group Islamic State (IS) in Portugal to 22 January.

On July 9 last year, the Central Criminal Court of Lisbon sentenced the accused to a single sentence of 12 years in prison for seven of the eight crimes for which he was charged, and acquitted him of membership in the international terrorist organisation.

Lopes Guerreiro, lawyer of Abdesselam Tazi, appealed the judgment to the TRL.

During the appeal hearing, which took place on 11 December, the lawyer argued that the TRL "declare the judgment of the first instance null and void".

Lopes Guerreiro also considered that "the errors of fact" contained in the judgment at first instance are manifest, claiming that the matter of fact is challenged on the grounds of "contradiction between the proven facts and the statement of reasons" for the judgment.

Tazi, 65 years old and in custody since March 23, 2017 in the high security prison of Monsanto, in Lisbon, was convicted of seven crimes: forgery with a view to terrorism, recruitment for terrorism, financing of terrorism and four crimes of using a false document with a view to financing terrorism.

Although the collective of judges, presided over by Francisco Henriques, acquitted the defendant of the crime of joining the international terrorist organization, it was proven that Tazi recruited elements in Portugal and financed their trip to Syria to fight alongside IS.

Abdesselam Tazi went several times to the Reception Centre for Refugees, in the municipality of Loures, to recruit operatives for this organisation, promising them US$1,800 (about 1,500 euros) a month.

The accused was always accompanied by Hicham El Hanafi (detained in France since 20 November 2016 for involvement in the preparation of a terrorist attack), who had radicalized and recruited in Morocco, before both travelled to Europe.

"At least from 23 September 2013, the main activity carried out by the defendant in Portugal was to assist and finance the displacement of Moroccan citizens to Europe and to obtain means of funding for the 'jihadist' cause," argues the prosecution, in this part given as proven at trial.

In the appeal, Tazi's defence reiterates that the accused has never committed any terrorism-related crime.

"The evidence that was produced at trial and all that is attached to the case file attests that the appellant did not forge any passport, did not recruit anyone for any terrorist organization (to which he was proven not to belong) and did not fund any recruitment activity for terrorism (national or transnational)," sustains the appeal, signed by lawyer Lopes Guerreiro.


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