Michael Delefortrie, who is convicted of being part of "Sharia4Belgium", leaves after the verdict is delivered in a trial of the group in Antwerp February 11, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
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A Belgian court sentenced the leader of an Islamist group that sent jihadi fighters to Syria to a 12-year jail term Wednesday and imprisoned several other members in one of the largest cases of its kind in Europe.Fouad Belkacem, 32, the chief of the Sharia4Belgium group, was convicted by a court in the northern port city of Antwerp of radicalizing, recruiting and dispatching young men to fight.Muslim convert Jejoen Bontinck, 19 – whose father brought him home from Syria in a celebrated case and who later became a key prosecution witness – received a 40-month suspended sentence.Belgium is the European country that has produced the most jihadi fighters relative to its population size.
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