A Syrian man with Greek refugee status accused of being a prominent fighter for IS has been detained in Hungary. Despite the suspect’s denial, he now faces the harrowing, tedious process that lies ahead.
Hassan F. was caught with forged documents in Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc Airport on Dec. 30th of last year. He received a suspended prison sentence for human trafficking, among other things, and is set to be expelled from the country. His alleged status as an IS fighter was revealed by Hungarian and Belgian authorities. According to Népszava, it was information obtained by Belgian intelligence that ultimately led to Hassan F.’s detention. He was later arrested by counter-terrorism center (TEK) officers in the Nyírbátor asylum detention facility.
According to Hungarian prosecutors, the 27-year-old man is suspected of aiding in the execution of 20 people – all family members of a resident in Homs city who refused to join the Islamic State – in 2016. In addition, he allegedly appears in numerous propaganda videos and assisted in the orchestration of acts of terrorism. Under Hungarian law, the man is now suspected of murder committed as part of an act of terror and of preparations to commit an act of terror.
The suspect’s lawyer, László Kelen, however, claims that the evidence is unreliable at best, and references the blurry nature of the photographs in question. Kelen says Hassan F. continues to voice his innocence despite the benefits that would accompany a confession. The fact that Hassan F. is “illiterate and uneducated” may also help his case as, surely, an uneducated person would hardly be capable of leading and coordinating IS’ units.
Information acquired by Hungarian state media site hirado.hu shows that Hassan F. was in possession of a prepaid bank card with 500 euros on it. Kelen told MTV that his client, who had refugee status, had received the bank card from Greek authorities and was only able to use the card in Greece.
According to Népszava, a protected witness came forward to Belgian intelligence and claimed to possess photographs proving Hassan F.’s involvement in the Homs killings.
Hirado.hu also accused Hassan F. of making up various details in an attempt to defer justice. TEK Director János Hajdu confirmed that Hassan F. had indeed claimed to work for the Greek secret service, saying he was tasked with identifying Jihadists in Europe. This, among Hassan F.’s other alleged claims, is now being looked into by Hungary and its international partners.
featured image by TEK