The deportation of French-Algerian physicist, Adlène Hicheur, who was previously linked to al-Qaeda in France through advising members of the terrorist group in 2009, comes
just at the heels of the arrest of twelve Brazilian individuals suspected of terrorist acts just two weeks ahead of the Olympic
Games’ commencement in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazilian authorities rejected Hicheur’s request to renew his work visa, a measure they said was taken in the
“national interest.” Hicheur has been in Brazil since 2013, where he began
working for the Federal University of Rio de Janiero. Previously, Hicheur was
sentenced to five years imprisonment by a Paris court for criminal association
charges. He assisted to plot an attack in France with an Algerian al-Qaeda militant in 2009 while being
employed as a researcher in Geneva’s respected CERN
physics lab. Hicheur was found guilty of providing logistical advice to al-Qaeda via email, as, according to prosecutors, he sent
a terrorist manual to the potential attackers. He was released two and half
years early, and made his move to Brazil. Local press indicated that he is being deported to France, but the university where he works was surprised by this
announcement, claiming the Justice Ministry lacks basic democratic principles.
Hicheur’s deportation is not Brazil’s only security
tightening measure. Since the Nice attack in France, Brazil’s Defense Ministry has responded by enhancing all security controls for the
upcoming Olympic Games. With nearly 500,000 foreigners expected to arrive in
Brazil, authorities are taking every measure to make sure the games in Rio are
not targeted. In the last week, 12 suspects have been arrested for belonging to
the Islamic state and discussing terrorist acts during the Olympic Games in
Rio. Authorities claim the group was a loosely organized and amateur terrorist
cell with no specific terror plan or target, called the “Defenders of Shariah,” connected with ISIS
using encrypted messaging. These arrests were made possible thanks to Brazil’s new anti-terrorism law, giving more power to authorities to take preventative
measures against terrorism as well as intelligence assistance from the U.S.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Additionally, there has been a spike in Portuguese propaganda by the Islamic State and instructions posted for how to attack the Rio Olympics. It is essential that Brazil continues
its heightened security efforts as the world’s eyes are on Rio.
From The Wall Street Journal:
federal police had apprehended 11 men, all Brazilians between 20 and nearly 50
years of age, who authorities say belonged to a loosely organized, amateur
terrorist cell called “Defenders of Shariah. […]
Speaking in Rio de
Janeiro on Saturday, Brazil’s Foreign Minister José Serra said the arrests were
justified. “Are they amateurs?
It is probable, but they have to be arrested because many of these people are
really amateurs,” Mr. Serra said Saturday. “Violence, in this case, does not
require professionalism, it requires fanaticism and a troubled mind.” […]
personnel are pouring into Rio, Brazil’s second-largest city. Around 85,000
military and police will be on duty during the Games, the largest-ever buildup
for a mega event in the history of the country, which also hosted the 2014 World
Cup soccer tournament.”