PARAMARIBO--The two siblings who were arrested in Paramaribo in 2017 on terrorism charges, walked out of court last week as free men. Raoul A. who received a two-year conditional sentence was released on Friday because he had already spent the entire term in pre-detention. His brother Nasr A. was acquitted, because the Judge did not deem it proven that he had been involved in his brother’s terrorism activities. Nasr had been released several weeks ago.
The brothers had been held in Paramaribo on July 23, 2017, on charges that they had been maintaining tight relationships with key people within ISIS. Raoul had been characterised as the brains behind the Islamic States’ branch in Suriname, who reportedly ran walled-off online chatrooms where radicalised youth would meet virtually. Both brothers were reportedly also planning to relocate to Syria with their families, but they were arrested before they could execute these plans. They were also charged with illegal weapons possession.
There had also been suspicions that they had been planning an attack on the US Embassy in Paramaribo, during which the American ambassador would be the specific target. This charge was later dropped by the Prosecution.
The two brothers were born in The Hague of Surinamese parents; they relocated to Suriname some years back to run the family’s butchery.
The Prosecutor’s Office had demanded six and four years for them, respectively, insisting that there was enough evidence that Raoul A. and been recruiting people to join terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) in Syria; the brothers reportedly also provided a jihadist from Suriname with money when he was stranded in Turkey while on his way to the warzone. This type of indirect financing of a terrorist organisation is punishable by law.
Raoul A. had consistently insisted that he was innocent. He admitted that he sympathised with the Islamic State, but stressed that he had never intended to carry out terrorist attacks. Their family has said that their arrest has caused dwindling income for the family business. “We’re not sure yet if we will demand compensation or if Raoul will appeal the verdict. For now we are just happy that they’re both home and our family is complete again. Justice has prevailed,” their sister told journalists.