Wednesday 28 September 2016

Bosnian court keeps eight Islamist terrorism suspects in custody

Reuters

Published 28/12/2015 | 12:50

Bosnian court keeps eight Islamist State terrorism suspects in custody
Bosnian court keeps eight Islamist State terrorism suspects in custody

Bosnia's state court has ordered eight out of 11 Islamist terrorism suspects to remain in custody for one month, it said on Monday, after a prosecutor said the group was believed to have been plotting a New Year attack.

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The men were arrested last week in raids at several locations in the Bosnian capital in a search for 15 suspects believed to be connected with Islamic State.

A Bosnian anti-terrorism prosecutor has said the arrests prevented an attack that purportedly would have killed around 100 holiday revellers in Sarajevo.

"The court made the motion due to fears the suspects could hinder investigation by influencing witnesses and accomplices or by destroying, hiding or forging evidence important for this criminal investigation," the court said in a statement.

Most Bosnian Muslims, known as Bosniaks, practice a moderate form of Islam but some young Muslims have embraced more puritanical Sunni Wahhabi beliefs under the influence of foreign fighters who came to Bosnia during its 1992-95 war to help Muslims fight against Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats.

Police have said that more than 150 Bosnians have left to fight for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq over the past few years, of whom more than 50 have returned to Bosnia and close to 30 were killed in combat.

The court said releasing the latest suspects could threaten to public order, given the gravity of the charges against them which could put them in jail for at least 10 years if they are found guilty.

During the raids, the police seized evidence of the links with Islamic State, the prosecutor said, but no explosives were found at the sites.

The raids were conducted near the military barracks where a gunman killed two Bosnian army soldiers in November in a shooting spree that authorities said was an apparent terrorist attack and blew himself up when they tried to arrest him.

Police have said that more than 150 Bosnians have left to fight for Islamic State in Syria and Iraq over the past few years, of whom more than 50 have returned to Bosnia and close to 30 were killed in combat.

Reuters

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