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Prison sentence upheld for former Prague Imam, accused of supporting terrorism

Former Prague Imam Samer Shehadeh escorted by police in a Prague court

Prague, Czech Republic – On Thursday, a Czech appeals court upheld the 10-year prison sentence for former Prague Imam Samer Shehadeh, who had been found guilty of supporting terrorism.

Samer Shehadeh was sentenced by Prague’s municipal court in February for supporting, promoting and financing a terrorist organization.

This week’s decision by Prague’s High Court is final and cannot be appealed.

Prosecutors found that the former head of the Muslim community in the Czech capital had helped his brother and his sister-in-law travel to Syria in 2016 to join the Al-Nusra Front.

Shehadeh confessed to the charges, but told the court that he didn’t view the Al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization and didn’t recognize the decision of the Czech court, which doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the Islamic sharia law.

“I’m proud of it. I have nothing to be ashamed of”, he said, arguing it was his duty to help other Muslims in their fight against what he considers to be the illegitimate Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.

After fleeing the Czech Republic in 2017, the Czech-born cleric of Palestinian descent was arrested in Jordan the following year and handed over to Czech authorities to face trial.

The members of the Czech Muslim community distanced themselves from Shehadeh’s actions. prague imam terrorism

Main photo credit: Tomáš Benedikovič / Denník N