Court Accepts Charge Against Group Accused of Planning Attack During Olympics
The Federal Court in the State of Paraná accepted on Monday (the 19th) the charge against eight suspected of planning a terrorist attack during the Olympic Games in Rio, who had been previously arrested in the 'Hashtag' Operation.
Federal Judge Marcos Josegrei da Silva found "sufficient evidence of materiality and authorship" related to the facts being investigated. It is the first criminal case brought in the country based on the Counterterrorism Law which was enacted this year.
The defendants will answer to charges of recruiting and promoting a terrorist organization, in addition to the corruption of minors. If condemned, they would receive sentences varying between 5 and 30 years.
All of the accused are between 19 and 32 years old. They discussed their plans on the Telegram app and by e-mail, with frequent justifications referring to the Islamic State. With roots in seven different Brazilian states, authorities started monitoring the group in March after the Brazilian Federal Police were tipped off by the American FBI.
"We're not dealing only with posts here. They joined a cause and tried to get others to join as well", declared prosecutor Rafael Brum Miron, author of the charges.
Even though the individuals under investigation hadn't taken any concrete steps, like purchasing weapons or putting together an action plan for a terrorist act, Miron argues that the promotion of a terrorist organization was characterized by their messages and that they represented a risk to public safety
In recent testimonies before the Federal Police, some of the suspects backtracked and claimed that they didn't support the Islamic State or agree with terrorism.
One of the accused said that posts referring to a home-made bomb "were only a joke" and another claimed that "at no time whatsoever did answering the call for indoctrination and physical training pass through his mind".
Most of those arrested, however, remained silent when questioned about plans for terrorist attacks or their allegiance to the Islamic State.
Translated by LLOYD HARDER