An Iraqi asylum-seeker who was arrested in Athens on Monday on suspicion of being a member of the Islamic State was charged with membership in a terrorist group on Tuesday afternoon.
The 34-year-old was taken into custody in his home in the suburb of Patissia – where he lives with his wife and their four children – in an operation by the police’s counterterrorism unit, which was acting in cooperation with Greece’s EYP intelligence service following a tipoff from a foreign agency.
Greek authorities were reportedly presented with social media footage featuring the suspect in two IS videos dating to 2014. Well-informed sources told Kathimerini on Monday that the 34-year-old is seen and heard lauding IS in these videos, but is not participating in the terrorist group’s atrocities.
According to authorities, the 34-year-old crossed into Greece via Turkey in 2017, taking the sea route to the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos. He has applied for asylum twice and been rejected both times and is said to have recently appealed the decisions on humanitarian grounds.