Internal Security Agency detains two Iraqis for financing terrorism

Mateusz Marek/PAP

Poland's Internal Security Agency has detained two Iraqis, a father and son, for allegedly financing the ISIS terrorist organisation, PAP has learnt.

The agency has requested that the National Prosecutor charges the two, who, if found guilty, face the possibility of spending between two and 12 years in prison.

Stanislaw Zaryn, the press officer for the minister coordinator of special services, told PAP on Monday that an investigation by officers in Wroclaw, under the supervision of the Lower Silesian branch of National Prosecutor's department of organised crime and corruption had ended in an indictment.

The Internal Security Agency (ABW) detained the men in June 2020 and they have been under arrest ever since.

Prosecutors have filed for the men to be charged with transferring payments to "fighters of the international terrorist organisation defined as the Islamic State (ISIS).

The two Iraqis are believed to have sent fighters in Syria and Iraq money through the "havala" system of financing terrorism.

"Features of the 'havala' system are quick transfers, anonymity, one-time transfers of small amounts, the lack of any formality and invisibility to the official banking system," the National Prosecutor's office explained. "The transactions are conducted immediately after receipt of the cash by an intermediary and the giving of a password."

The 'havala' system is based on transfers between individuals with no banking system involved, the prosecutor said. The system was used to finance the pilots that attacked the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in September 2001, the prosecutor added.

The investigators said that two Iraqis twice received money sent by ISIS fighters in Germany and through the 'havala' system transferred it from Poland to a specific terrorist and his wife.

Zaryn told PAP that an investigation conducted by ABW in the years 2017-20 showed that the Iraqis sent money for ISIS from March to May 2016. The money, coming from family members of ISIS fighters living in Europe, was transferred to Poland by Western Union, from where it was transferred to the ISIS organisation in Iraq.

Zaryn said the motion to charge the men had arrived at the Wroclaw-Fabryczna District Court in mid-December.