Today, the district court of Rotterdam acquitted a Syrian suspect of all charges of being party to a terrorist organization. The Public Prosecutor’s Office initially accused the man of having been party to the battle group Ahrar al-Sham between 2013 and 2016. This organization was previously marked a terrorist group by the Dutch courts. However, following the oral arguments presented by the defense, the Public Prosecutor decided to ask for acquittal.

According  to the court, there is no evidence that the man engaged in violence and there is also no evidence that he supports and propagates the ideology of Ahrar al-Sham. The court held that the man did go on watch in order to protect his family from the terror of the regime of President Assad. However, according to the court ‘protecting home and hearth against terror can and must not be called terrorism’.

The man was represented in this case by lawyer Frederieke Dölle.

The verdict is available here (in Dutch)

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Prakken d'Oliveira, formerly known as Böhler, is a law firm with expertise and experience in asylum and immigration law, European law, administrative law, international criminal law and human rights. Our lawyers provide advice and conduct procedures before the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND), the Dutch Review Committee on the Intelligence and Security Services (CTIVD), the District- and Appeals courts, the Administrative Law Division of the Dutch Council of State, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), the Human Rights Treaty Bodies of the United Nations (UN), the International Criminal Court (ICC), and other international tribunals.