A MUSLIM cleric based on the Costa Blanca has gone on trial in the National Court on charges of setting up a terrorist organisation.

Egyptian national 49-year-old Hesham Shashaa (also known as Abu Adam) was arrested in April 2017 at his Teulada-Moraira villa, where he lived with his four wives and 18 children.

A judge ruled that he was a ‘flight risk’ and has been in custody ever since.

The prosecutor is calling for a nine-year prison sentence for the imam who is accused of creating a Costa Blanca network aimed to ‘spread extreme Jihadism in local mosques’.

He is also accused of providing ‘refuge and a transit point for Islamic State members from Syria and Iraq’.

Shashaa has strongly denied the charges and said that he was committed to ‘fighting terrorism’, and that the Policia Nacional had mistranslated some of his statements.

He stated that he came to Spain to ‘prevent the spread of terrorism to the country’.

Shashaa arrived from Germany in 2011 and lived in two rental properties in Benissa, before buying a 10,000 square metre villa in Teulada in 2015 for an estimated €500,000.

The prosecutor alleges that Shashaa lived in Romania between 1996 and 2000 and acted as a recruiter to send young people to Afghanistan to be trained to commit attacks in Romania.

He was expelled by Romanian authorities in 2000 and went to Germany, where his activities and contacts with financial backers in the Middle East came under the spotlight of the police.

His Spanish move came soon afterwards and he is said have invested money from his ‘backers’ at mosques in Almoradi, Calpe, Teulada and Torrent, as well preaching radical sermons across the region.

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