CATF Reports Aug. 4, 2016, 11:17am

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:

“Since Thursday, 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.” […]

Meanwhile, security 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.

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