World

Belgian court declares Islamic group a terror organization, sentences leader to 12 years

  • Michael 'Younes' Delefortrie holds up a sign which reads "I am Muslim" as he arrives to the main courthouse in Antwerp, Belgium Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The final verdict will be read on Wednesday for dozens of Belgians on trial accused of leading or being members of a terrorist organization that allegedly recruited fighters for jihadi groups in Syria. The case, one of the biggest-ever terror trials in Belgium, centers on the radical Muslim group Sharia4Belgium and its members. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    Michael 'Younes' Delefortrie holds up a sign which reads "I am Muslim" as he arrives to the main courthouse in Antwerp, Belgium Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The final verdict will be read on Wednesday for dozens of Belgians on trial accused of leading or being members of a terrorist organization that allegedly recruited fighters for jihadi groups in Syria. The case, one of the biggest-ever terror trials in Belgium, centers on the radical Muslim group Sharia4Belgium and its members. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Suspects arrive in a covered van to the main courthouse in Antwerp, Belgium Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The final verdict will be read on Wednesday for dozens of Belgians on trial accused of leading or being members of a terrorist organization that allegedly recruited fighters for jihadi groups in Syria. The case, one of the biggest-ever terror trials in Belgium, centers on the radical Muslim group Sharia4Belgium and its members. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    Suspects arrive in a covered van to the main courthouse in Antwerp, Belgium Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The final verdict will be read on Wednesday for dozens of Belgians on trial accused of leading or being members of a terrorist organization that allegedly recruited fighters for jihadi groups in Syria. The case, one of the biggest-ever terror trials in Belgium, centers on the radical Muslim group Sharia4Belgium and its members. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

  • Michael 'Younes' Delefortrie, center, who has returned from fighting in Syria, arrives to the main courthouse in Antwerp, Belgium Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The final verdict will be read on Wednesday for dozens of Belgians on trial accused of leading or being members of a terrorist organization that allegedly recruited fighters for jihadi groups in Syria. The case, one of the biggest-ever terror trials in Belgium, centers on the radical Muslim group Sharia4Belgium and its members. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

    Michael 'Younes' Delefortrie, center, who has returned from fighting in Syria, arrives to the main courthouse in Antwerp, Belgium Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. The final verdict will be read on Wednesday for dozens of Belgians on trial accused of leading or being members of a terrorist organization that allegedly recruited fighters for jihadi groups in Syria. The case, one of the biggest-ever terror trials in Belgium, centers on the radical Muslim group Sharia4Belgium and its members. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

A court in Belgium has declared that a radical Islamic group that recruited youngsters to fight in Syria was a terrorist organization that wanted to violently overthrow democracy and replace it with strict sharia law.

The court in Antwerp sentenced the group's "charismatic leader," Fouad Belkacem, to 12 years' imprisonment.

Wednesday's verdicts came in one of Belgium's biggest ever terror trials — 46 Muslims were indicted, though only a handful appeared in court. Others are believed to be fighting with Sunni armed groups in Syria or to have died in that country's brutal civil war.