Dutch court convicts two would-be Syrian jihadists
A Dutch court on Wednesday convicted two would-be jihadists who wanted to join the fight in Syria, the first case of its kind in the Netherlands, a spokeswoman said.
"They wanted to go to Syria to fight and the court felt that they were in particular preparing to kill people," Catelijn van Breevoort of the Rotterdam Court told AFP.
The pair, named only as Mohammed G., 24 and Omar H., 22, for privacy reasons, were charged under a new Dutch law that can punish those who "prepare or carry out a deed of terror."
The men were arrested in November last year while planning to travel to Syria to join rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
They were however not convicted under the new law, but rather for "preparing killings, criminal fires, and explosions", the court said in a statement.
Mohammed G. was arrested with money and a backpack. The court found that he had recurrent psychological problems and sent him to a psychiatric hospital.
The court jailed Omar H., who had explosives on him when he was arrested, for eight months plus four months suspended.
The prosecutor had sought three years' jail for Omar H. based on a law banning attending jihadi training camps.
But the court decided that he was going directly to fight rather than to train, and rejected the charge.
"This is the first time that the Netherlands hands down such a judgement and this helps clarify the fact that it's illegal to go to Syria to fight," prosecution spokesman Paul van der Zonden told AFP.
"Which means that we now have a legal precedent and can prosecute other people wanting to go to Syria or coming back," he said.
More than 100 Dutch nationals have gone to fight in Syria, according to Dutch media reports.
Around 30 have returned and six were killed.
© 2013 AFP