A man who had come on a boat to Greece from Turkey in 2017, claiming political asylum from the nation of Tajikistan, was brought before the appellate prosecutor of Nafplio by officers from Greece’s Special Suppression Counter-Terrorism Unit (EKAM) on Wednesday.
The twenty-seven year old, accused of belonging to ISIS, was arrested on Wednesday in Tripoli. Media reports say that Greek authorities noticed in one of their databases that the individual had been sought by Interpol on suspicion of being part of ISIS, which led to an investigation by the country’s anti-terrorist forces and his eventual arrest.
At noon on Wednesday, the accused was brought before the court, where it is believed deportation proceedings will be initiated against him.
Arriving first at Lesvos’ Moria refugee and migrant camp three years ago, the man was granted asylum from the former Soviet satellite republic in 2018 — and ever since that time he has lived with his family, which includes a wife and four children, in the Greek city of Tripoli.
Their apartment has been subsidized all this while by a non-governmental organization.
The man not only denied having any part in the ISIS organization, he also complained that the charge was retaliation from the Tajikistan government against him. He reportedly told police that his wife was the sister of that country’s opposition leader. The small nation is governed by Emomali Rahmon, a strongman who has an iron grip on the government of Tajikistan and who won the most recent election there unopposed.
Ever since the recent terrorist attack in Vienna, which was allegedly perpetrated by a Vienna-born man with Albanian and North Macedonian roots, Greece has been on heightened alert for any possible terrorist incidents.
The attack in the Austrian city had reportedly been the subject of a closed-door meeting of the Greek Ministry of Civil Protection with political leaders and officials from the Hellenic Police and the EYP.
The Greek police authorities are at this point unable to either substantiate or disprove the Tajik man’s claims. The suspect’s name reportedly had not been listed in the rolls of known Islamic terrorism suspects in any of the Greek or foreign security services.
The Interpol arrest warrant does state that the suspect had already been sentenced to 15 years in prison for terrorism, and in addition to that he fought in Syria in 2016 for the so-called “Caliphate.”
Greek law enforcement authorities are hopeful that more information will be forthcoming regarding the man’s past whereabouts and actions.
Ministry of Citizen Protection, in the presence of the political leadership and officials of the Hellenic Police. and the EYP.
A few hours earlier, Greek Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis had a telephone conversation with his Austrian counterpart Karl Nemacher about the dramatic events in Vienna.