Sofia, August 7, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe
Mourad Hamyd, brother-in-law of Charlie Hebdo attacker Cherif Kouachi, is to face a Bulgarian court on August 9 in connection with suspicions that he intended becoming a “foreign fighter” for Daesh, the terrorist organised crime group that calls itself the “Islamic State”.
This was confirmed on August 7 by Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova, who spoke to reporters while inspecting the Bulgarian-Serbian border along with her counterpart from Belgrade, Nebojša Stefanović.
Buchvarova said that Hamyd had been taken into custody because he exhibited behaviour typical of a would-be “foreign fighter”. She declined to disclose of Hamyd’s whereabouts or in which court his case will be heard.
French media reported earlier that Hamyd (20) was suspected of trying to join Daesh. It had been thought that Hamyd was a third member of the group that carried out the January 2015 terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.
Reportedly, Hamyd was intercepted at the Bulgarian – Turkish border in late July, after not being allowed to remain in Turkey. His family had reported him missing on July 25.
His family suspected that the Paris resident intended heading for Syria or Iraq. After it was established that he was wanted by the authorities, the French prosecutor’s office circulated a description. A European Arrest Warrant was issued for Hamyd.
Buchvarova said that further details about the case would be released after Hamyd appeared in court.
Meanwhile, during the border inspection, it emerged that patrols would be stepped up and Bulgaria and Serbia would increase their efforts to prosecute people-traffickers.
In line with earlier reports, it was confirmed that EU border agency Frontex was to send 200 staff to Bulgaria, to assist with security on the Bulgarian-Turkish and Bulgarian-Serbian borders.
In recent weeks, Serbia deployed police-military teams at its border with Bulgaria, accusing Sofia of failing to do enough to stop illegal migration across its border with Serbia. This was followed by Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry making a point of announcing a series of detentions of would-be migrants at the Serbian border.
A report by Bulgarian National Television on August 7, quoting Serbian and Bulgarian authorities, said that there had been a significant increase in attempted illegal crossings of the border. In the past week, Bulgaria detained 381 people trying to cross the border into Serbia illegally.