Criminal Court of Lisbon sentenced Abdesselam Tazi for crimes of recruitment and financing for terrorism. “I hope your god forgives you, because the court does not forgive you,” said the judge at the end of the sentence reading

Two years after being extradited from Germany to Portugal, Abdesselam Tazi was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for crimes of recruitment (three years) and financing (eight years) for terrorism, fake passport (one year) and credit card (five years). He was acquitted of crimes of membership of an international terrorist organization (the Islamic State), falsification of a document with a view to terrorism and use of a false document to finance terrorism.

At the end of the reading of the judgement, the judge was hard on the defendant of Moroccan origin: “I hope your god forgives you,” repeated the magistrate, “because the court does not forgive you.” This is the first conviction in Portugal for crimes linked to jihadist terrorism.

The presiding judge, Francisco Henriques, began reading the sentence to enumerate the facts that he considered proven and not proven. Of the most important crimes – related to terrorism – the first conclusion of the judge was that it has not been proven that Abdesselam Tazi has joined the Islamic State. “The direct link was not proven although there was evidence of a link between the accused and the Syrian organization, but there are doubts and as such he is acquitted,” he explained.

On recruitment, the court “had no doubt that the defendant was at the basis of the rectification of Hicham El Hanafi” and that “he tried to recruit three other Moroccan youths.” in relation to the financing, the judge found that the crime was not intended to “commit acts of terrorism but with the intention of proceeding with the reinstatement that was proven.”

Before closing the hearing, Judge Francisco Henriques addressed Abdesselam Tazi stating: “I know that you are a religious man, and so am I. I hope your god forgives you. Europe, taking advantage of the weaknesses of the system for what? To convince some kids to their convictions. He then asked: “How did a person so conservative practice these crimes, lived on the money of others? How did a person with his convictions live this way? On the one hand was rigid with the behaviour of women and then, with more things serious, did not mind defrauding people with credit cards to convince young people to go to Syria.”

The Moroccan still tried to claim innocence and repeat that he was the victim of revenge. But the judge did not allow him to continue. “Yes, yes, that will be seen later. It remains in pre-trial detention until this decision is final,” he said before concluding. “I hope your god forgives you,” repeated the magistrate, “because the court does not forgive you.”

Already the defence lawyer of Abdesselam Tazi, Lopes Guerreiro, was very surprised by the decision, “taking into account the evidence produced in judgment.” “He absolves himself from membership in the Islamic state, how is he convicted of retrenchment of three individuals? Recruiter for whom?” He questioned before moving forward that he will read the decision carefully and then appeal.