COBERTURA ESPECIAL - Special Terror - Intelligence

July 23, 2016 - 12:00 ( Brasília )

RIO2016 - Terorist Network Detained

Brazil Federal Police arrest gang suspected of planning terrorist attack.Terrorism suspects jailed in maximum security prison

Brazil Federal Police arrest gang suspected of planning terrorist attack


Agência Brasil

The Federal Police arrested ten people suspected of planning terrorist attacks in Brazil. The detentions took place today (Jul. 21), 15 days before the Olympic Games are slated to kick off in Rio de Janeiro.

“They've gone from simple comments about the Islamic State and terrorism to preparatory acts,” Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes told the press. In his view, the activities detected, as well as the exchange of emails for the purchase of a AK-47 rifle, could be deemed preparation, which is enough grounds for having those involved arrested.

The detentions took place in 10 states and all of those taken to jail are Brazilian nationals, the minister reported. Moraes went on to describe them as an “amateur cell.”

Brazilian law

Dubbed “Hashtag”, the Federal Police operation was launched Thursday morning (21), and probes into the alleged participation of Brazilians in an international criminal organization as an Islamic State cell in the country. Twelve temporary arrest orders were served, with a 30-day term, possibly extended by another 30. Two other warrants are underway.

Declassified data and telephone conversations reveal signs that “those under scrutiny promoted intolerance based on race, gender, and religion, as well as the use of weapons and guerrilla tactics to meet their goals.”

What the Brazilian law defines as crime regarding terrorism is: to promote, form, integrate, or aid, in person or by means of a middleman, a terrorist organization, and also to perform preparatory acts of terrorism with the unequivocal purpose of carrying out said infraction.

The justice minister further said that the names of the suspects, currently under custody, will not be announced, as the case is classified.

Foreign intelligence contributed toward
terror suspects' arrest in Brazil

Vladimir Platonow
Agência Brasil

Brazil's Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said Thursday (Jul. 21) that the arrest of ten people suspected of planning terrorist acts for the Rio 2016 Olympics has relied on information obtained in collaboration with foreign intelligence services.

“Several intelligence services from a number of countries helped us in our monitoring efforts by sharing information,” the minister said during an event that marked the beginning of the Federal Highway Police operations in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

He said the Federal Police has a dedicated counterterrorism unit, the Integrated Anti-Terrorism Center (CIANT), which works in collaboration with six countries: Argentina, United States, France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Paraguay.
The minister has repeatedly said that the group arrested Thursday (Jul. 21) was amateur, and that most of them had never even met, except for two men who had served a six-year jail sentence together for murder.

“That group was absolutely amateurish, so much so that just days ahead of the Olympics, the alleged leader—because most of the communication came from him—was asking the others to take martial arts and shooting training. [There were] no professionals whether to commit terrorist acts or any other crime,” he said.

Moraes said the amateur nature of the plot does not eliminate “the need for prompt government action. We will promptly respond at any evidence of preparatory action to prevent the advancement of any plans to disrupt the Olympics.”

Judge says gang was arrested in Brazil
for praising terrorists

Heloisa Cristaldo
Agência Brasil

Yara Aquino contributed to this article.

The ten Brazilian nationals arrested Thursday (Jul. 21), suspected of being linked to Islamic State, are 20 to 40 years old, reported Federal Judge Marcos Josegrei da Silva, tasked with the case.

“We've got a group of people who praise terrorists. I've learned about people who show this kind of behavior and act in groups. That is enough to justify their temporary imprisonment,” he pointed out, adding, however, that the evidence collected so far still does not confirm that the group was planning to carry out a terrorist attack in the country.

“What's being stated is that, taking what we have into view, that was the best measure to bring the investigation to a conclusion. Now, I don't have enough information to say it was a group that was about to carry out a terrorist attack. The police authorities will sort that out, with whatever they manage to get through search and seizure orders,” he added.

Arabic names

A total 12 temporary detention warrants were issued with a 30-day term, which may be extended to another 30. Thus far, Operation Hashtag, launched by the Federal Police, has taken ten people across the country to jail.

“What I can say is that they're middle-aged people. They're different ages, but they're still young, not much older than that, maybe 20 to 40 years old,” Josegrei said. According to the judge, their preventive detention is justified as it makes it less likely for those under scrutiny to commit any criminal act over the course of the investigation.

According to Josegrei, none among the investigated is Arabic, even though they were using Arabic pseudonyms to communicate on social media. “It's not their Christian names. They adopted those names to better identify themselves as a terrorist group.”

The judge dismissed the idea that one of the arrested Brazilians is a leader, and said that the group is being investigated for actions carried out after March 19, when the Anti-terrorism Law was brought into effect. According to investigators, the group used the internet as its main means of communication.

“[We're talking about] statements on the internet and social media. They're statements made online. The arrests and searches are ways to get evidence and learn more about the whole thing,” the judge argued.

Brasília - Chegam ao aeroporto da capital federal os suspeitos de planejar ataque terrorista durante os Jogos Olímpicos Rio 2016 (Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil)

 The suspects of alleged terrorist plotting for the Rio 2016 Olympics have been transferred to a federal maximum security prison in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul.


Brazil: Terrorism suspects jailed in maximum
security prison

Brazil's Federal Police (PF) have announced that the ten people arrested yesterday (Jul. 21) as part of Operation Hashtag on suspicion of terror plotting were transferred to a maximum security federal prison in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul. The arrests took place in ten different states.

The suspects face charges of advancing a terrorist organization and carrying out activities in preparation for terrorist attacks, both of which are outlined in the Anti-Terrorism Act. Under this law, terrorism can carry jail sentences of 12-30 years.

Operation Hashtag began in April with the Counter-terrorism Division monitoring social media. The arrested suspects were on an online group called Defenders of Sharia (the Islamic law) and planned to buy weapons for criminal activity in Brazil and even in other countries.


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