A court in Brazil on Thursday sent eight men to prison for plotting chemical attacks during the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Judge Marcos Josegrei da Silva also convicted the men for promoting the Islamic State group. Officials said the men were not members of the outfit, but were trying to contact it, according to BBC.
Kingpin Leonid El Kadre de Melo has been sentenced to 15 years in jail, one Fernando Pinheiro Cabral will spend five years and the remaining six got six-year jail terms. All the eight are Brazilians.
However, all the convicts said they would appeal against the verdict. El Kadre’ mother Zaine el Kadri told AFP that said the ruling did not prove anything. “They have got nothing on him. We are going to appeal and get him out,” she told the news agency over phone. Meanwhile, El Kadre entered his 36th day of hunger strike on Thursday to protest against unjust incarceration.
Authorities said the men had been trying to buy weapons and had shared bomb-making videos. They “exulted in and celebrated terrorist acts carried out around the world, publishing videos of executions by the Islamic State [group] and instructions on how to swear loyalty to the group’s leader,” said the judge, according to International Business Times. The judge also showed a picture in which one of the men posed in front of a flag with the group’s name written on it in Arabic, reported AFP.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation had been monitoring their activities before the Games began in August 2016. The federal police arrested 15 people in July when it launched Operation Hashtag. Seven of the suspects were released later.
The Olympics were held between August 5 and August 21. Around 85,000 policemen and soldiers were deployed there.