Bulgaria detains Syria-bound Frenchman on terrorism charge

12th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

Bulgaria has arrested a Frenchman wanted in his own country for terrorism and who allegedly planned to take his son to receive a radical Islamist upbringing in Syria, prosecutors said Monday.

Fritz Jolie Joaquin, 29, a French citizen of Haitian origin, was arrested while trying to cross Bulgaria's southeastern Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint with Turkey on a bus on January 1.

He was initially wanted on a European arrest warrant issued by a court in France following allegations by his wife that he had kidnapped their three-year-old son on December 30, the prosecution said.

According to the wife, he was planning to take the child to Syria to educate it in a jihadist community.

On Monday, Bulgarian prosecutors received a second European arrest warrant for Joaquin issued by a court in Paris.

"The charges are participation in an organised crime group and plotting terrorist acts," the chief prosecution said in a statement late Monday.

Bulgarian media reports have speculated that Joaquin was linked to one of the Kouachi brothers who slaughtered 12 people in an Islamist attack on Paris satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo's offices last Wednesday.

The spokeswoman for Bulgaria's chief prosecutor, Rumyana Arnaudova, refused to comment on the reports when contacted by AFP.

Joaquin told prosecutors that he was travelling with his son and girlfriend for a planned holiday in Istanbul.

But he signed a document on Monday saying that he agreed to be extradited.

The child has already been transferred back to the mother while a court will decide on the father's extradition this Friday.

© 2015 AFP

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