Athens, February 1, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Olga Mavrou
Greek authorities arrested three days ago the 29 year old Bosnian (or Serbian with Bosnian descent) Mirsad Bektašević and a Yemeni –they were both travelling with Swedish passports. The official chargethey face was that they carried knives in their luggage and in doing so they violated the Greek law aboutcarrying a weapon. They were arrested in a public transport bus on their way to north Greece and the authorities believe they might be heading for Syria via Turkey. The two men insist that they were visiting Greece for tourism and that they had the knives for self defense, but since yesterday Serbian and Bosnian media refer to him as “a very dangerous terrorist that has been recruiting Muslims from all over Europe”.
Mirsad Bektašević lived in Serbia but he might be a Bosnian descent. When his father was killed in a traffic accident, his widowed mother moved (with her two sons) to Sweden. There Mirsad attended the school and also the mosque. When he was 19 years old when, in 2005, he visited Sarajevo. There the police found in his aunt’s apartment where he lived 18 kilogrammes of explosives, timing devices, detonators and a videotape with footage demonstrating how to make a home-made bomb. There was also found a footage of Mirsad and a 20 years old Turk who (wearing ski masks) threatened with attacks against unfaithful nations. Due to evidence found in Mirsad’s apartment, the police arrested 9 young Muslims in Denmark and London. (One of them was the Yemeni who was arrested with Mirsad in Greece three days ago).
Young Mirsad Bektašević is believed to be a recruiter, under the alias Maximus. He asked young Muslims like himself to join the fight of Muslims in Iraq back in 2005 (and perhaps later, after his release from jail,joining ISIS, ). The young man was initially sentenced in 15 years in prison but he later appealed and his sentence was reduced to 8 years –the charge was illicit arms possession and violent resistance. In 2009 Sweden granted a request by Bektašević to serve the remainder of his prison sentence there and on 2011 he asked to be released, after serving two thirds of the sentence. He was released on May 10, 2011. In 2013 he was arrested for carrying a pistol. In 2014 Swedish media reported that he travelled to Syria to fight with ISIS. He tried twice to return to Bosnia and Serbia, but both countries denied him entrance.
He came in Greece probably 2 days prior to his arrest and though some sources say he was arrested in a routine check by the Greek police, the 29 year old was under surveillance since his release from Swedish prison.
Many wonder why he was free to travel quite e few times in Syria and how he managed to get so close to al- Kaida and ISIS but perhaps media do not get the whole picture…