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Syrian indicted for promoting ISIS

July 18,2018
Prosecutors charged a 33-year-old Syrian man on Monday with promoting the Islamic State, in the first case involving Korea’s Anti-Terrorism Law passed in 2016.

The Incheon District Prosecutors’ Office said on Tuesday that the suspect arrived in the country in 2007 and requested refugee status because he was fleeing civil war in Syria. The government denied his application but granted him a special visa on humanitarian grounds and allowed him to work in the country.

While working in junkyards around Gyeonggi, he allegedly promoted the Islamic State and its radical Sunni beliefs to other migrant workers. Police said they first received intelligence about the Syrian man last year and promptly started an investigation.

Over the course of their probe, authorities said they located his phone in the Middle East, indicating he was traveling back and forth between there and Korea. Police arrested him at a junkyard in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, last month and discovered he possessed videos promoting the Islamic State. He allegedly showed those videos to other workers and posted recruitment material on his Facebook account.

According to Korea’s Anti-Terrorism Law, members of a terrorist group or anyone who promotes terrorism can receive a sentence of up to five years in prison.

“We’re moving forward with this case with caution because if word spreads that a Syrian ISIS member is being tried under Korean law, Koreans might be the next targets of ISIS,” an official in the prosecutors’ office said on the condition of anonymity. “That is why we can’t fully disclose the details of this case.”

BY YEO YOO-SOO [enational@joongang.co.kr]