Ex-Prague Imam Samer Shehadeh in custody for allegedly promoting terrorism

A former Prague-based Islamic cleric, who faces charges of supporting terrorism, has given up his right to lodge a complaint against his detention and so will remain in custody pending a trial, along with two other suspects.

Imam Samer Shehadeh could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on charges of supporting, promoting and financing terrorism. According to media reports, the other suspects are Shehadeh’s brother Omar and his brother’s wife.

The Czech intelligence services began investigating Imam Shehadeh in 2016. While in Prague, he had allegedly tried to radicalise Muslims and told them attending a Christian mass in a show of solidarity with people of different faiths would amount to a betrayal of Islam.

Recordings of Imam Shehadeh preaching elsewhere indicate that he was more radical than the Czech Muslim community, which expelled him, may have suspected at the time.

The Islamic cleric later briefly preached in Bratislava, the Slovak capital, from where he was also forced out. He was captured in Jordan and flown to the Czech Republic this week.

Author: Brian Kenety