Trial opens of 10 accused of recruiting Dutch Muslims for Islamic State

September 7, 2015 18:21

AMSTERDAM - Ten suspected Islamist radicals went on trial in the Netherlands on Monday for allegedly recruiting Dutch Muslims to fight with Islamic State insurgents in Iraq and Syria.

The trial, the largest against alleged jihadists in the Netherlands in a decade, is seen as a test of whether a court can convict suspects who may endorse a radical ideology but have not carried out any attacks in the West.

Lawyers for the defendants said at a hearing on Monday they are innocent of any wrongdoing and have a right to speak out about their religious and political views.

"Some defendants may have crossed lines, but the way the cases are brought in is exaggerated," said Bart Stapert, an attorney for one of the accused.

Prosecutors say the suspects, aged 19 to 41, played a variety of roles within a single criminal group "with a terrorist intention". Some allegedly focused on recruiting, while others preached in favor of IS at demonstrations and on the Internet, while others managed finances and logistics.

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