Online Radicalization and Terrorism: Investigation into Alimcham’s Involvement and Advanced Radicalization

2023-09-25 16:16:00

On November 12, 2020, the Charleroi federal judicial police (PJF) were alerted to the opening of an investigation following the report of an Instagram account giving pride of place to terrorism, including messages of support for attack perpetrated against Samuel Paty on October 16, 2020 among our French neighbors.

The problematic account belongs to a mother, who has three sons. Among the latter, it turns out that Alimcham (born in 2004) uses this account. The young teenager is already closely monitored by the youth court…

“Advanced” radicalization

Arrested and placed in IPPJ on February 11, 2021, Alimcham also had his family’s computer equipment seized, including two computers, as well as mobile phones and tablets. The in-depth analysis of these different media highlights a worrying activity on the Internet. “There are thousands of video files, photos and even messages sent or received by the defendant. It turns out that the latter often changes accounts, moving from Discord to Telegram or Instagram. In his cell phone, we find a manual for preparing a homemade bomb in Russian. He promotes the Islamic State and incites people to commit terrorist attacks. The radicalization of the accused is advanced,” specifies the federal prosecutor’s office, in charge of the case.

This Monday afternoon, Alimcham is suspected of having participated in the activities of a terrorist group by being the leader, but also of having broadcast messages and trying to recruit candidates with a view to going to fight in Tajikistan.

For the prosecution, there is no doubt that Alimcham was a leader since the latter went around among his classmates to find candidates for an attack project. “He tried to convince classmates and also gave them advice: not to listen to certain music, practice a combat sport, etc. He had a leadership role and some young people tried to get advice from him. His plan was to go and fight abroad and his plan B was to attack police officers or civilians in Belgium or France with a Kalashnikov. He quickly became radicalized on social networks and tried to rally young people under the age of 16 to his cause, some of them aged 13.”

Not a manager, according to his lawyer

Given the particular seriousness of the facts and Alimcham’s involvement in the case, the federal prosecutor’s office is hoping for a “severe and dissuasive” sentence. Fifty months in prison are required against the young man, currently abroad following a family bereavement, without opposing a probationary reprieve.

The defense is requesting a simple reprieve while emphasizing the defendant’s lack of leadership. Judgment on October 23.

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