The Oradea Court of Appeal yesterday sentenced fugitive Omar Hayssam to two years in prison for trespassing the Romanian border. His brothers – Mukhles and Mahmoud – and businessman Mustafa Tartoussi, charged with helping him flee the country, were acquitted of the charges.The two year sentence was merged into the previous 20-year terrorism sentence, which means the defendant would serve the longest sentence, 20 years respectively. The sentence is challengeable on appeal to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ). Neither the defendants nor their lawyers were in court when the sentence was pronounced. In late Nov 2007, prosecutors at the Department for Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) put the three defendants on trial. Investigators established that during June 23 – 30, 2006 Mustafa Tartoussi allegedly planned and eased, along with Omar Mahmoud and Omar Mukhles, Omar Hayssam’s fleeing Romania, despite being aware he was brought to trial for acts of terrorism and for organizing and financing the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Iraq. Criminal investigations revealed that Omar Hayssam fled Romania by ship, with help from defendants Mustafa Tartoussi, Mukhles Omar and Mahmoud Omar, on material and family grounds respectively”.In 2008, The High Court upheld the sentence in absentia to 20 years of businessman Omar Hayssam. Syrian Hayssam was issued an international APB on the grounds of a remand warrant in absentia issued by the Bucharest Court of Appeal. On April 26, 2006 Hayssam was released from jail and on June 30 he fled Romania on board a ship. The then-heads of intelligence services and Romania’s Prosecutor General resigned due to the media scandal triggered by Hayssam’s fleeing.On November 16, 2011 President Traian Basescu said that Omar Hayssam cannot be brought to Romania due to the Senate Foreign Policy Commission blocking the passage of the extradition accord with Syria.
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