Trial resumes for group accused of IS links
A witness in the trial of a group accused of terrorism-related activities has told a Belgrade court he joined one of the accused in order to fight in Syria.Source: Beta
The trial of the group indicted for plotting terrorist attacks and financing departure of citizens of Serbia to training camps of Islamic terrorists in Syria continued on Thursday before the Special Court in Belgrade.
The defendants include Abid Podbicanin, Sead Plojovic, Tefik Mujovic, and Izudin Crnovrsanin from Novi Pazar, in Serbia's southwestern Raska District (known also as Sandzak), and Ferat Kasumovic from Belgrade.
Witness Irgan Licina today confirmed that he went to Syria in order to fight in the war there with the accused Tefik Mujovic.
He described himself as always having an interested in "the original Islam" and as attending Islamic religious services in Novi Pazar since the 7th grade of elementary school.
"I on saw on the internet that Muslims were being tortured and killed, this awakened emotions in my as a believer and as a person, which is why I decided to go there and fight," Licina told the court, denying the allegations from the indictment that he had been recruited.
The witness said that he "made inquiries for a long time" among his university friends about how he should go to Syria, and that a man named Hamza Adamovic told him that Tefik Mujovic would be "his contact."
According to Licina, he went to Syria by bus via Istanbul, Turkey, carrying with him EUR 1,000 and personal belongings.
Mujovic was waiting in Istanbul, where the witness said he spent a few days before departing for Syria, where he first underwent training, and was then sent to the battlefield.
Marina Macisic also took the stand today to testify that one of the accused, Crnovrsanin, "bought a bag that has a special compartment for weapons from her company, over the internet."
Defendants Podbicanin and Mujovic remain at large. According to the media, Podbicanin was in February killed in Syria, but this has not been officially confirmed.
The other accused - Plojovic, Crnovrsanin, and Kasumovic - denied all charges during the previous hearings, pointing out that they "only wanted to live in accordance with the original Islam." The Organized Crime Prosecution has indicted them with terrorism, recruitment and training for committing acts of terrorism, as well as financing terrorism.
Podbicanin and Mujovic are accused of establishing contacts in early 2013 with organizations that the United Nations has declared terrorist - the Islamic State and the Al Nusra Front.
Podbicanin, Mujovic, Crnovrsanin and Kasumovic are on trial for joining the armed part of the Islamic State in Syria, where Podbicanin also commanded a unit.
The group has been indicted for collecting money from like-minded persons in Serbia to finance Serbian citizens joining terrorist training camps in Syria before going to the battlefield.
Mujovic is also accused of incitement to terrorist acts, because he used Facebook to post a variety of content glorying the Islamic State and calling for suicide attacks to be carried out in Sandzak, Belgrade, and Rome.