MADRID – Two Moroccan nationals admitted on Monday their involvement with an Islamic State terror organization cell in Spain during a hearing at the National Court in Madrid, for which they are to be banned from the country for a period of 10-years after coming to an agreement to avoid prison time.
Abdelillah Migou and Anouar Merabet respectively faced 9 and 11-year prison sentences respectively, although the state prosecutor reduced their sentences to 4 and 5 years respectively after listening to the full account of the charges against them.
Merabet had one extra year in prison for drug trafficking.
Both individuals admitted, as stated in their indictment, being in direct contact with some 20 IS extremists in Syria and were also involved in the indoctrination of combatants prior to being sent to conflict zones.
Both agreed to the state prosecutor’s proposal of substituting their prison sentence for a 10-year expulsion order from Spain, and the judge confirmed he would sentence them in accordance.
According to the public prosecutor, Merabet was a self-styled religious Sheikh who adopted “a high profile identity as a charismatic virtual leader on social networks” and was “friendly” on Facebook with up to 11 suspected Islamic State terrorists linked to a Katiba, a combat cell currently under investigation in Syria
In addition, Merabet trafficked in hashish in order to finance his “brothers” in Morocco “to fulfill the terror organization’s stated mission.”
Meanwhile, Migou, an active internet user, had expressed his desire to join extremists in war zones and posted messages designed to attract potential volunteers seeking to join IS.
As with his indicted compatriot, Migou was in contact, via Facebook, with up to 10 IS extremists, including members of the investigated Syrian Katiba.