ISIS Trial a First in Austria
ISIS criminal prosecution stories will become more commonplace in the near future. Here, a Chechen national living in Austria stands accused of fighting with and supporting ISIS. While it is clearly important to be aware of the facts specific to any one case, reports such as these also help us to understand the bigger picture in the development of jihadist organizations. This story points out that June 2014 was a pivotal moment in the growth of Isis:
KREMS, Austria (Reuters) – A 30-year old Chechen who Austrian authorities accuse of fighting with Islamic State jihadists in Syria in 2013 and sending them money pleaded not guilty when the country’s first such trial opened on Thursday.
Prosecutors allege Magomed Z., a Russian national, trained with IS in Syria between July and December 2013, fighting with the group, adopting its “nationality” and sending it $800.
The defendant said he had gone to Syria only to help refugees and search for the son of a relative.
Islamic State has existed in its current form since June 2014, while its precursor organization, The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis), was established in April 2013.
Around 170 people, half of them Chechens, have traveled from Austria to fight with jihadists in the Middle East, according to the interior ministry. Austrian police have detained several minors on suspicion of terrorism-related activities.