Australian would-be jihadist jailed in Bulgaria

2017-06-06 08:41


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Sofia - A Bulgarian court on Monday jailed an Australian man for four years for having tried to join the Islamic State group, the first terror-related conviction in the country.

John "Ivan" Zahariev, 21, was accused of having taken shooting lessons between July and September 2016 "with the aim of participating in terrorist activities," the court said in a statement.

Zahariev, who also holds Bulgarian nationality, was arrested in September 2017.

He travelled to Syria in 2013 and attempted to join ISIS, but was turned back because of his lack of fighting skills, the court statement added.

Checks on his computer showed he had regularly visited websites with articles and videos about the Islamist Al-Nusra group and Islamic State.

Zahariev, whose father is Bulgarian, denied the charges and said he had already given up his Muslim faith.

The special court ruling is the first terror-related conviction in Bulgaria. Experts say the country is a major transit point for would-be Islamic State fighters travelling from Western Europe to Syria and Iraq.

His conviction is still subject to appeal within a period of 15 days.

Read more on:    isis  |  australia  |  bulgaria

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