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Terrorist suspects’ lawyers refused entry to the US

Solicitors that have in the past acted as defence lawyers for terrorist suspects are facing difficulties when trying to get permission to travel to the United States. The Belgian Foreign Ministry says that it is looking into to whether the solicitors’ ESTA requests are being turned down is connected to their professional activities, but stresses that all countries are entitled to decide who they let in.

Recently the Brussels lawyer Dimitri de Béco applied for permission to visit the United States by the American authorities” online ESTA request system. However, his request was turned down He went to the American Embassy in Brussels but was unable to obtain a visa.

He was forced to cancel his planned trip to New York where he was to have visited friends. Afterwards Mt de Béco learned that at least 5 other barristers had also been refused documentation that would have allowed them to travel to the United States.    

“It was then that it dawned on me", Mr de Béco told VRT News.  

We have all worked as solicitors for terrorist suspects”.

In 2016 Dimitri de Béco defended the leader of a terrorist cell at a trial in Brussels. Since the Brussels terror attacks on 22 March 2016, he has only represented victims in terrorism trials.

"I find it the way in which they tar a solicitor with the same brush as his client”.   

The former barrister Matthias Leys who defended the brother of the IS terrorist Hicham Chaib was also refused leave to enter the United States.

"I am no longer a solicitor, but in May my application was still turned down”.   

A visit to the American Consulate proved a waste of time.  

"After 30 second I was able to leave. They only asked me who my brother was and what I did for a living”.  

Mr Leys tried to find through the Federal Judicial Authorities and the FBI what the reason was for him being refused entry. However, he has yet to get any answers.

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