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Nine Brazilians Are Facing Charges for Alleged Ties to the Islamic State
05/18/2018 - 12h48
FROM SÃO PAULO
The Public Prosecutor's Office accused 11 people of attempting to form a criminal organization with the intent of promoting terrorist group ISIS and recruiting minors to carry out terrorist attacks.
According to the prosecution, the Federal Police had been investigating the defendants since 2016 and they had even discussed the possibility of carrying out attacks on Brazilian soil. In late April, trial dates were set for nine of them - the remaining two were diagnosed with mental disorders.
Investigations began upon receiving a notification from the Spanish Civil Guard stating that Brazilian phone numbers were registered in three groups belonging to instant messaging app WhatsApp and that were responsible for promoting ISIS.
|Erik de Castro/Reuters|
|An Iraqi military truck set afire after it was hit by IS militants in Mosul, Iraq|
The police used the Spanish intelligence to track down Weverton Costa do Nascimento, an administrator in two of the WhatsApp groups that are suspected of having ties to ISIS. The Federal Police (PF) used data on Mr. Nascimento's phone to track down the other defendants, among whom is Welington Moreira de Carvalho, who has considered himself the leader of terrorist organization Al Qaeda in Brazil.
Also among the defendants is Jonatan da Silva Barbosa, whose phone was also analyzed by the Federal Police. Investigators found a conversation on his phone with another suspect (who is not facing charges) in which the two of them talked about carrying out a terrorist attack during Carnival.
However, the prosecution did not provide any evidence that the defendants actually took steps to begin planning any attacks. None of them are being accused of planning or carrying out attacks. Instead, they have been accused of promoting, participating in or supporting a terrorist organization, which can lead to a five-to-eight-year prison sentence.
Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON