Eight Bulgarians charged with supporting Islamic State
Eight Bulgarians were indicted Tuesday on charges of supporting the Islamic State jihadist group, the public prosecutor`s office said.
Sofia: Eight Bulgarians were indicted Tuesday on charges of supporting the Islamic State jihadist group, the public prosecutor`s office said.
Six men from the central cities of Plovdiv, Pazardzhik and Asenovgrad were arrested on Tuesday morning and arrest warrants were issued for another two suspects who were still being sought, the prosecutors said in a statement.
The eight, from the Muslim Roma minority, were charged with "supporting Islamic State," "preaching anti-democratic ideology" and "propagating war", the prosecutor`s office said.
The arrests are part of an investigation that began with a raid last year on a mosque in Pazardzhik, whose imam is accused of promoting radical ideology.
Seven people, including the imam -- who had been given a jail sentence for promoting radical ideology in his sermons but remained free pending his appeal -- were arrested in that operation.
During searches of the homes of some of the accused and the mosque, investigators confiscated videos with preachings that praised jihadists in Syria and urged other Muslims to join their ranks.
Some of the defendants were also shown posing in Islamic State T-shirts.
The group is suspected of having followers among Muslim communities in Germany, France and the Netherlands and of helping jihadists travel to Syria and Iraq via Bulgaria and Turkey.
Thousands of western Europeans have travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside extremists groups such as Islamic State.
The government in Sofia says it has no knowledge of any Bulgarians having travelled to the Middle East for jihad.
Bulgarian law does not currently bar would-be jihadists from travelling abroad.
The justice ministry has proposed adding such a ban to the statute books.