12 far-right suspects in court over attack plans
8 September 2006, BRUSSELS — Twelve suspected members of an extreme-rights organisation will appear in Dendermonde Court on Friday.
8 September 2006
BRUSSELS — Twelve suspected members of an extreme-rights organisation will appear in Dendermonde Court on Friday.
They were arrested on Friday with five other suspects in a large-scale police operation. Four men have already been released, news service VRT reported.
The suspects, soldiers and civilians, were linked to a neo-Nazi movement. Ten of the seventeen suspects are soldiers. They were allegedly planning attacks to destabilise democracy in Belgium.
Friday's hearing in court is expected to be a marathon process. Five suspects appeared before a judge on Thursday, four of whom were released.
One of them, a Dendermonde man, was remanded in custody.
He is alleged to have played an important role in the case, while the other four were followers. They were released on bail.
The main suspect in the case will appear in court late Friday afternoon or early evening. He comes from Buggenhout, but lives at the army barracks of Leopoldsburg.
He is alleged to have recruited people with extreme-right thoughts from within and outside the military. Most of the weapons seized were also found with him.
The man was said to be in contact with the Dutch extreme-right organisation Nationale Alliantie.
The Dendermonde public prosecution office had kept the main suspect and his supporters under surveillance for several years.
The public prosecution office decided on Thursday to carry out a series of house raids because the Belgian suspects allegedly started selling weapons.
Police found explosives and sophisticated warfare weapons and also a letter claiming a possible attack.
Though no evidence was found that the main suspect was planning a concrete attack, police have never encountered an extreme-right group so well organised and so heavily armed.
Police seized in total enough firearms to fill two police vehicles, bullet-proof vests, gas masks, ignition switches for mines, neo-Nazi symbols, marijuana and anabolic steroids.
Military chiefs have refused to comment on the matter, passing questions onto Defence Minister André Flahaut, who described the suspects as several bad apples.
If convicted on charges of being a leader of a terrorist organisation, the main suspect could be sentenced to 10 years jail. The members of the organisation can be sentenced to five years jail.
In Europe, there are several active neo-Nazi groups. The most well-known group is Blood and Honour.
The group of arrested suspects is allegedly members of a branch of Blood and Honour and reportedly held links to BBET (Blood-Territory-Honour-Allegiance).
Blood and Honour was founded in the UK in the 1980s and has spread all over Europe.
Two branches have developed in nearly every European country. One of them is fiercely involved with music, the other with violence.
A battle has been waged between the two branches for some time. The conflict has at times broken out into violence and letter bombs have been sent during feuds in the UK.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news