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ISLAM

Syria ‘more free’ than Vienna says teen jihadist

One of the two Viennese teenage girls who is believed to have joined the jihadists in Syria, denied wanting to return home, according to a SMS interview with the French magazine Paris Match.

Syria 'more free' than Vienna says teen jihadist
Sabina Selimovic, 15 and friends. Photo: Private
15-year-old Sabina Selimovic denied being pregnant, and reported that she felt "free" in her new home.
 
The interview was conducted via SMS, and carried out under the supervision of her husband, according to the magazine.
 
She reportedly said that she and her 17-year-old friend Samra Kesinovic walked over the border from Turkey, taking nothing more than their clothes with them.
 
She said that she and her friend lived with their new husbands, jihadist fighters, for two months in the same house, and then each pair had moved into an apartment.
 
She and her husband now live in a three bedroom apartment.
 
The man whom she said was her husband was a "soldier", she said.
 
When asked what was the biggest difference between living in Austria and in Syria, Selimovic said "Here I am free. I can practice my religion freely. In Vienna, I could not." 
 
The two Viennese girls disappeared on April 10th. According to their parents, Bosnian refugees who arrived in the 1990s to Austria, they announced that they wanted to join the fight in Syria for Islam.
 
In recent weeks, media reports suggested that the girls now want to return to Austria.
 
According to Interpol, the two girls are still listed as missing.  There was no independent verification of the identity of the person being interviewed, nor confirmation that the interview wasn't given under duress.

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CRIME

Case dropped against second Swiss man over Vienna attack ‘links’

Swiss prosecutors said Thursday they had dropped the case against a second Swiss man over alleged links to a deadly shooting rampage in Vienna due to a lack of evidence.

Armed police officers stand guard before the arrival of Austrian Chancellor Kurz and President of the European Council to pay respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria on November 9,2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Armed police officers stand guard before the arrival of Austrian Chancellor Kurz and President of the European Council to pay respects to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Vienna, Austria on November 9,2020. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which last month decided to drop the case against one suspect, told AFP it had issued a discontinuation order in the case against a second man.

On November 2, 2020, convicted Islamic State sympathiser Kujtim Fejzulai killed four people in Vienna before being shot dead by police.

It was the first major attack in Austria in decades and the first blamed on a jihadist.

Two Swiss citizens who knew Fejzulai were arrested in the northeastern Swiss town of Winterthur just a day after the attack on suspicion they may have helped in its preparation.

‘How was it possible?’ Austrians left asking painful questions after Vienna terror shootings

The two, who were aged 18 and 24 at the time, were known to the police and were the targets of prior criminal cases over terror-linked offences.

The OAG acknowledged Thursday that no evidence had emerged that either man had participated in any way or had prior knowledge of the attack.

The older of the two men was meanwhile hit with a penalty in a separate case with no links to the Vienna file, the OAG said.

The penalty order, seen by Swiss media, indicated that he had been found guilty of violating Switzerland’s law banning Al-Qaeda, Islamic State and related organisations and of being in possession of “depictions of violence”.

According to the ATS news agency, an IS group video was found on his phone depicting people being executed and decapitated.

He was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence, a fine of 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,100, 950 euros), and three years’ probation, ATS said.

ANALYSIS: Vienna terror attack was ‘only a matter of time’

In light of this penalty, he would not be compensated for the 176 days he spent behind bars after his arrest following the Vienna attack, it added.

The OAG said a separate case was still pending against the younger of the two men, also on suspicion he breached the Swiss law banning Al-Qaeda, IS and related organisations, and over “allegations of depictions of violence”. “The presumption of innocence applies,” it stressed.

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