Czech court upholds 10 year sentence for former Prague Muslim leader

A Czech appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling that convicted a former Prague Muslim leader of being part of a terror group and financing terrorism, sentencing him to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Imam Samer Shehadeh, a 36-year-old of Palestinian origin, helped his brother Omar and later his brother’s wife, Fatima Hudkova, travel to Syria to join an extremist group known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

Prosecutors also said Shehadeh sent unspecified sums of money to the group that seeks to replace the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad with an Islamic state.

In the same case, Omar and his wife were convicted of terror charges and received prison terms of 11 and six years, respectively. The appeals court also upheld their sentences.

Shehadeh didn’t deny the accusations, but said he didn’t consider his deeds a crime because he doesn’t recognize the Syrian government and doesn’t consider the group terrorist.

Czech police began investigating Shehadeh in 2016 over alleged attempts to radicalize people as he had asked Czech Muslims not to join a Christian mass against terror in Prague in August of that year.

The verdict by Prague’s High Court is final.

Members of Prague’s Muslim community distanced themselves from his activities.

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