Greek authorities arrest 32-year-old Syrian suspected of links to terrorism

A 32-year-old Syrian man will be led before a public prosecutor in Alexandroupolis on Friday, following his arrest by Alexandroupolis police for outstanding administrative penalties that included a ban forbidding his entry into Greece. According to a Hellenic Police (ELAS) announcement, the man is also being investigated for “participation and the degree of this in terrorist acts committed outside Greek territory in the past.”

Police sources said that videos and photographs of the torture and execution of people captured by ISIS, as well as other material depicting violence by jihadists, including some where he appears himself, were found on the suspect’s mobile phone.

While the suspect was already facing charges for a domestic violence complaint filed by his wife in September, who said he had abused her and their young children, he had been under discreet surveillance by Greek authorities as a person of interest since his arrival in Greece in June 2016.

The 32-year-old and his family were among the boatloads of refugees arriving in Greece at that time, landing on the island of Leros. He immediately applied for asylum and the legal procedure was initiated but the ELAS State Security department had at the same time issued an order placing him under surveillance.

Based on his wife’s complaint filed in Thessaloniki, charges were drawn up against him for domestic violence and this was followed, a few days later, by a report accusing him of participating in the activities of ISIS in Syria. This prompted authorities to convert the surveillance order to a ban forbidding his entry into the country, which meant that he would be placed under arrest if he was found in Greece or forbidden to re-enter if he left.

On Thursday, the 32-year-old presented himself in Alexandroupolis for an interview required under the asylum application process, whereupon he was arrested and the incriminating images were vfound on his mobile phone.

The suspect attempted to commit suicide in his cell when he heard that he would be accused of participation in terrorism, trying to make a noose out of his blanket, but was stopped and taken to Alexandropoulis hospital before coming to any serious harm.

The case has now been taken over by the Counter-terrorism Service, which is investigating the suspect’s home, computer and other personal items to determine the degree of his involvement in any terrorist acts.