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News 09 Aug 16

Bulgaria Accuses Paris Attacker's Relative of Terrorism

Mourad Hamyd, brother-in-law of Cherif Kouachi - who killed 12 people connected to the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year - is to appear in a Bulgarian court suspected of planning to join ISIS.

BIRN The Sofia Globe, Russia Today
Police following the shooting at the satyrical magazine in Paris. Photo: Flickr/Quinn Norton.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova has confirmed that Hamyd will face a Bulgarian court on August 9 over allegations that he intended to become a fighter for ISIS, Bulgarian media reported.

Buchvarova said that Hamyd had been taken into custody because he exhibited behaviour typical of a would-be “foreign fighter”. She did not reveal Hamyd’s whereabouts or in which court his case will be heard.

The 20-year-old brother in law of Paris Islamist killer Cherif Kouachi was intercepted on the Bulgarian-Turkish border in late July. His family in France reported him missing on July 25.

Media reports said he was unarmed when stopped in Turkey, although he was in combat dress, with gloves and sturdy shoes in his travel bag.

The contents of his phone and laptop, which were found in his backpack, also revealed his intention to join the Islamist terrorist organization, French intelligence sources told the French paper Journal du Dimanche.

Hamyd came into the spotlight last January, when he was declared a prime suspect in the Charlie Hebdo attack case hours after two brothers, Said and Cherif Kouachi, killed 12 people and injured 11 more in an attack on staffer of the satirical magazine in Paris. Police believed he was a getaway driver, who helped the attackers flee the scene.

He then reported himself to police in his home town of Charleville-Mezieres in France, providing an alibi. Hamyd also said he did not want to be associated with “these barbaric crimes”, claiming he had only distant relations with his elder sister and her husband.

While being investigated, Hamyd’s friends launched a social media campaign under the hash tag #MouradHamydInnocent and confirmed his alibi by saying that Hamyd, who was a teenager at that time, was in school when the attacks took place.

He was cleared of all charges and released.

Although terrorism-related charges were dropped, Hamyd remained on the French terrorist watch list.

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Background

Western Balkans on Alert Over ISIS Threat

Countries in the region have raised security levels and introduced new precautions to counter the threat of terrorist attacks by Islamic State.

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