One of the biggest terrorism trials ever held in the Netherlands kicked off at a high security courthouse in Amsterdam on Monday.
In total, 10 suspects face charges of being members of a terrorist organisation, several face charges of preparing to commit terrorist attacks and others have been charged with recruitment, RTL news reports.
Six of the suspects were in the court for the opening arguments. At least three of the 10 are thought to be in Syria or Iraq. One of them, named as Soufiane Z, who was active on Twitter and made a video called Oh oh Aleppo, is thought to have been killed.
Being a member of a terrorist grouping is a criminal offence in the Netherlands, whether or not any terrorist acts have been committed.
Public prosecution spokesman Wouter Bos told RTL news officials were tipped off about the gang by people who’s children had been recruited to become jihadis.
‘These people are extremely brave because they made complaints despite the shame,’ he said. ‘They saw their children become radicals in a short space of time and in some cases they had left for Syria and Iraq.’
Bos said he could not say how many jihadis the group had radicalised or how many had gone abroad.
The group on trial in Amsterdam, at the courthouse nicknamed the Bunker because of its high security, includes Azzedine C, also known as Abou Moussa.
He was arrested in Germany in 2014 and is said to be one of the most prominent Dutch Muslim radicals. He is also one of the organisers of pro-IS demonstrations in The Hague’s Schilderswijk district. His wife Imane B is also on trial.
One of his fellow demonstration organisers, Rudolph H, also known as Abu Suhayb, is also part of the alleged group. Another is 19-year-old Oussama C, who dropped out of Erasmus University and has recruited at least five people to go to Syria. He was also arrested in 2014.
Two of the nine men on trial are native Dutch converts. The group ranges in age from 19 to 41. Three have been held in a high security jail pending the trial.
The last time a large group of suspects were tried for similar offences was in 2005, when a group of young men from The Hague were charged with being members of what the police dubbed the Hofstad group.
The group was made up of a loose circle of young radical Muslims with connections to Mohammed B, the man who killed Theo van Gogh. After a string of appeals and retrials, many were eventually found not guilty.
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