The Czech intelligence service BIS has reported on a case of money having been sent from the country to help finance an Islamic State terror group. Its 2016 report is due to be debated by the cabinet next week.
The annual reports of the Czech secret service generally deal with the level of extremism, the danger of radicalization of the Czech Moslem community, and the Czech Republic as a possible transit country for radicals. For the first time this year the country’s secret service also speaks about money having been sent to finance Islamic State activities. Intelligence service spokesman Ladislav Šticha confirmed on Wednesday that the secret service is aware of at least one case in which money was sent from the Czech Republic to finance an Islamic State terror group. The group or country to which the money was sent were not identified on the grounds that disclosure of such highly sensitive information would threaten the agency’s long-term operations. Under Czech law financing terrorist activities is a serious crime punishable by up to 12 years in prison.
As regards the Czech Republic serving as a transit country for radicalized individuals, the BIS reported that in 2016 a number of foreign nationals from other countries had travelled to Syria via the Czech Republic, namely using Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport. No such case of a foreigner residing in the Czech Republic was monitored. In its 2015 report the secret service said that seven Muslims who had spent an unspecified period of time in the Czech Republic left the country with the aim of joining extremist groups in Syria, especially Islamic State militants.
Only one case is known so far of a Czech wanting to join a terrorist organization. The Czech national in question was detained at Istanbul’s international airport in February 2016 with a one-way air ticket to the town of Gaziantep near the Syrian border, from where he had ordered a car to take him to Jarabulus where he was to join IS militants. He confessed all this to the Czech police first saying expected to go to war, fight for the IS ideology and kill people. Later he told the court that he had not intended to kill, but to let himself be killed in battle. A regional court sent him to three years in prison and when he appealed the Prague High Court issued an even tougher verdict handing him a six-year jail sentence.
The danger of the possible radicalization of the Czech Republic’s Muslim community persists and must be closely monitored, the secret service report says. The service reportedly monitored a number of individuals who attempted to radicalize Czech Muslims and establish closed communities governed by Sharia law. So far the community has rejected such attempts but the situation needs to be closely watched, the report concludes.