Austrian police file terrorism charges against Swedish teen

by Reuters
Monday, 7 December 2015 15:53 GMT

VIENNA, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Austrian police have filed terrorism charges against a 17-year-old Swedish girl of Somali background, suspecting she wanted to travel via Vienna to Syria to join jihadi militants, a spokesman said on Monday.

The parents of the girl, who has no previous link with Syria, had informed Swedish police of their daughter's travel plans and their concerns about the possibility of her joining Islamic State militants.

Austrian police detained the girl, who is a Swedish citizen but only speaks broken Swedish, at a train station in Vienna on Saturday. The spokesman said police had filed charges against her for joining a terrorist organisation.

The girl has denied planning to proceed to Syria, saying she only wanted to visit friends in Vienna, but police said they filed the charges based on what her family had said and other information they declined to divulge.

A Vienna court has yet to decide whether she will be released or kept in investigative custody should more evidence emerge to support the charges against her. Her mother arrived in Vienna on Monday to be with her.

Police in countries including Britain, Canada, Germany, Turkey and the United States have detained several young people travelling individually or in small groups and apparently heading for Syria since Islamic State seized control of large parts of Iraq and Syria last year.

In May, an Austrian court sentenced a 14-year-old boy who downloaded bomb-making plans onto his Playstation games console to a two-year jail term after he pleaded guilty to terrorism charges.

(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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