Greece orders 2 men to remain in custody pending IS trial

AP News
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Posted: Feb 02, 2016 10:11 AM
Greece orders 2 men to remain in custody pending IS trial

ALEXANDROUPOLI, Greece (AP) — A Greek magistrate on Tuesday ordered two men to remain in custody pending trial on charges of attempting to travel to Syria through Greece to join the Islamic State group.

The two men, born in Bosnia and Yemen but travelling on Swedish passports, were arrested last week near the Greek-Turkish land border. Police confiscated two hunting knives, a military-style waistcoat and a rifle shoulder strap from their belongings.

They have been charged with membership in a terrorist group, arms possession and possessing military equipment with the intent of supplying a terrorist group.

The suspects' lawyer, Menia Polychroni, says her clients deny any wrongdoing and are tourists who don't understand why they were arrested. No trial date has been set, and Greek authorities have the right to hold suspects in pre-trial detention for up to 18 months.

Officials haven't named the men, aged 29 and 20, but say the 29-year-old was released from prison in 2011 after serving six years for possessing explosives and threatening to carry out an attack. The man had been arrested and convicted in Bosnia before he was transferred to serve the last part of his sentence in Sweden.

Polychroni says her clients claim they have no links to terrorism.

"They accept that they are Islamists, but pacifists," she told journalists outside the magistrate's office in the northern Greek town of Alexandroupoli.

Police say the suspects were arrested during a routine check at an Alexandroupoli bus terminal, where they had bought tickets for a border village that is close to an official border crossing to Turkey.

Polychroni said they had bought the knives as souvenirs in Athens, where they stayed for about four days after arriving on a flight from Copenhagen, Denmark.

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