Man suspected to have terrorist ties with Islamic State arrested in Rio de Janeiro

A construction worker walks by a logo of the Rio 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (representative). Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Jul 29, 2016, 04.16 AM (IST)
Brazilian police in the state of Rio de Janeiro, which hosts the Olympics next month, have arrested a man with suspected ties to terrorist groups after monitoring his online activity, his lawyer said on Thursday.

The lawyer, Edison Ferreira, said Chaer Kalaoun, 28, was detained by police in his home in the town of Nova Iguacu on allegations of posting apologies for Islamic State (IS) online.

The lawyer strongly denied his client had any ties to terrorist groups.

"There has been no basic, complete nor definitive accusation, all we have are suspicions that posts on his Facebook linked to Islamic State, but there is nothing concrete in relation to him," said Ferreira.

"He has no link to Islamic State, so he has not be recruited, he is not bringing people over here, nor collaborating, nor incentivising Islamic State projects," he added.

Federal police declined to comment.

Ferreira said that police had also detained Kalaoun before Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014 on charges of illegal possession of firearms.

On July 21, Brazil arrested 10 people suspected of belonging to a poorly organized group that supports IS and discussing terrorist acts during the Olympic Games.

It has subsequently detained two more suspects in the case. South America's first Olympics kick off on August 5 with some 500,000 visitors expected to travel to Brazil.

Authorities are on high alert following attacks in France and Germany in recent weeks.