El Aroud loses appeal against eight-year 'jihad' sentence

1st December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Belgian woman serving an eight-year prison term for leading an Al-Qaeda-linked terror group lost her appeal against her sentence on Wednesday.

Malika El Aroud, the widow of one of the killers of anti-Taliban leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, was jailed in May for leading a group which recruited youngsters in Belgium and France to wage "jihad" in Afghanistan.

During her appeal hearing she denied using a website to encourage Muslims to join the battle against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, but judges backed the state prosecutor's call for her sentence to be upheld in full, Belga news agency reported.

She also offered an apology during the appeal to the families of American soldiers, having previous apologised to the animal world for comparing US servicemen and women to dogs or pigs.

A second Islamist militant, Muhammed Bastin, saw his 40-month suspended sentence also upheld on appeal.

Aroud's second husband, Moez Garsallaoui, was also sentenced to eight years in May but is on the run.

Her previous husband was one of the men who killed the leader of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, two days before the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

Two people were placed under arrest last week in Brussels in connection with a three-year probe into an Iraq and Afghanistan war recruitment drive.

© 2010 AFP

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