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Courts Sentence Eight Men for Planning Terrorist Attack in Brazil

05/05/2017 - 13h54

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MARCELO TOLEDO
FROM RIBEIRÃO PRETO

On Thursday, May 4, the Federal Courts of the state of Paraná sentenced eight Brazilian defendants accused in the Hashtag operation. The accusations were the first filed in the country based on the Antiterrorism Law, enacted last year. The defendants may appeal.

The operation began nine months ago, shortly before the Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro. The courts accepted the accusations against eight of the 13 suspects arrested by the Federal Police in July last year.

They were accused mainly of promoting terrorist organizations and criminal association - the first crime is provided for in the Antiterrorism Act.

The Federal Police's actions took place in the states of Amazonas, Ceará, Paraíba, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná, Mato Grosso and Rio Grande do Sul.

The investigation shows that the defendants used social networks and cell phone apps to speak in favor of ISIS and planned attacks in the country during the Olympic Games.

Prosecutors say that, between March 17 and July 21, 2016, all the defendants "were involved in the promotion of the terrorist organization called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)."

Of the eight defendants, the harshest sentence was given to Leonid El Kadre de Melo, 33, sentenced to 15 years, ten months and five days in prison without furlough or work-release privileges.

The Courts understood that Melo was responsible for recruiting members for the criminal organization.

Melo's defense say they will appeal and that he has been on a hunger strike for 36 days.

The other defendants convicted include Alisson Luan de Oliveira, aged 19, (6 years and 11 months), Oziris Moris Lundi dos Santos Azevedo, 27, (six years and three months), Levi Ribeiro Fernandes de Jesus, 21 (six years and three months), Israel Pedra Mesquita, 27, (six years and three months), Hortencio Yoshitake, 30, (six years and three months), Luis Gustavo de Oliveira, 27, (six years and three months), and Fernando Pinheiro Cabral, 23 (five years and six months).

Yoshitake, Mesquita, Jesus and Azevedo, who had been in custody up until December and awaited their sentences on recognizance, will appeal in liberty. The four others will continue in prison.

The defendants' connection with extremist groups has not been investigated yet. They did not have a concrete plan for a terrorist attack in Brazil either.

However, most of them supported ISIS by posting pictures and videos of executions and praising its dogmas and attacks.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

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