U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 - Belgium

The Belgian government continued efforts to improve its ability to combat and control terrorist financing, including disrupting the possibility for untraced money flows through phone shops and other alternate remittance systems, value added tax refund carousels, laundered proceeds through narcotics trafficking or prostitution, and the diamond trade. Separately, the Belgian government enacted new legislation that broadened the definition of "bank account" to include insurance, stocks or other securities, and other financial instruments, for the purpose of investigating financial crimes, including the financing of terrorism. The burden of proof on judges to freeze terrorist assets was relatively high. To constitute a criminal offense, authorities had to demonstrate that support was given "with the knowledge that it would contribute to the commission of a crime by the terrorist group."

Belgium contributed 340 troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. The government also provided support for Afghan reconstruction. Belgium plans to expand its technical assistance efforts in Iraq and has begun implementing debt forgiveness within the framework of Paris Club agreements. It expanded its participation in the Jordan International Police Training Center in Amman, increasing the number of Belgian police officers at the facility from two to four. Other programs included training for Iraqi diplomats and magistrates in Belgium and training for Iraqi servicemen in Abu Dhabi, in cooperation with Germany.

Belgium is not a significant safe haven for terrorist groups, although the PKK operated television production facilities in the country. Belgian authorities were concerned about potential terror activities involving groups from Algeria and North Africa, and investigated groups such as the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM), the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front (DHKP-C), and a far right group with links to neo-Nazi groups.

In February, a Belgian court convicted members of the GICM for belonging to a terrorist group linked to attacks in Madrid and Casablanca and providing logistical and financial support to the GICM. Under the antiterrorism law, prosecutors focused on the material support the suspects provided to terrorists, including lodging and false documents. Three of the 13 defendants were sentenced to terms of six to seven years. Six received three to five year sentences under the 2003 antiterrorism law, which criminalized membership in a terrorist group and broadened the definition of terrorist acts. In September, a Belgian appeals court upheld the convictions of five GICM members and imposed sentences ranging from 40 months to eight years.

In another case, also prosecuted pursuant to the 2003 antiterrorism law, members of the DHKP-C were convicted for membership in a terror organization and for providing material support to a terrorist group. In November, the Belgian court of appeals upheld those convictions. In September, Belgian authorities arrested 17 members of a loosely-organized far right group with links to neo-Nazi groups that was allegedly planning attacks to disrupt Belgian democratic institutions.


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