NEWS

Suspected IS terrorist caught in Peloponnese

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A 27-year-old man from Tajikistan, who was arrested in the southern Greek town of Tripoli Thursday, is described in the international warrant issued against him as a terrorist and an Islamic State official.

A high-ranking Citizens’ Protection Ministry official told Kathimerini that the man was detained in Tripoli and, after a check of the Hellenic Police (ELAS) databases, it turned out that a Red Notice had been issued by Interpol for his prosecution for suspected participation in the terrorist Islamic State organization.

The investigation into the case was completed by the force’s anti-terror division, which dispatched a unit to Tripoli to interrogate him.

He was arrested under the warrant and appeared before an appeals court prosecutor Thursday in the southern town of Nafplio. Deportation proceedings are expected against him. According to ELAS executives, he came to Greece in 2017, via Lesvos, where he was registered at the first reception center in Moria. He was granted asylum in 2018 and since then had lived with his wife and four children in an apartment in Tripoli rented by a nongovernmental organization. The suspect denied that he was a member of the Islamic State during his interrogation by counterterrorism officials.

He attributed the international arrest warrant against him to political persecution by the government of his country and, to support his claim, claimed his wife is the sister of the leader of the opposition in Tajikistan. The arrest warrant states that he was facing a 15-year sentence for terrorism, and that in 2016 he traveled to Syria and fought in the ranks of the self-proclaimed caliphate. After the recent spate of terror attacks in France and Austria, Greek counterterror units have been on heightened alert.