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Czech court upholds former Prague Muslim leader’s conviction

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PRAGUE (AP) — A Czech appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that convicted a former Prague Muslim leader of being part of a terror group and financing terrorism, sentencing him to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors said imam Samer Shehadeh helped his brother Omar in 2016 and later his brother’s wife, Fatima Hudkova, travel to Syria to join an extremist group known as Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

Prosecutors also said Shehadeh sent unspecified sums of money to the group that seeks to replace the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad with an Islamic state.

In the same case, Omar and his wife were convicted of terror charges and received prison terms of 11 and six years, respectively. The appeals court also upheld their sentences.

Shehadeh didn’t deny the accusations, but said he didn’t consider his deeds a crime because he doesn’t recognize the Syrian government and doesn’t consider the group terrorist.

Thursday’s verdict by Prague’s High Court is final.

The members of Prague’s Muslim community distanced themselves from his activities.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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