LTV names Latvian arrested over fighting in Syria

According to unofficial info obtained by Latvian Television, the person arrested by the Security Police last week over fighting in the Syrian conflict is one Mārtiņš, about whom LTV's De Facto reported late last year.

According to De Facto, Mārtiņš (no surname provided) is a young man from a large farmer family. He has a great command of English and, according to his teacher, at school he was a loner who spent his free time alone and didn't have any friends.

In grade 12 Mārtiņš became interested in Islam and started frequenting one of the largest online forums dedicated to Islam. 

Mārtiņš was an active poster on the forum until the time he left Latvia. According to De Facto, he had amassed more than 1,500 posts in 9 months. It is thought that in 2014 he left for the Near East, possibly through the United Kingdom.

Mārtiņš had also gone to Helsinki where he met a Finnish friend, whom he got to know through online gaming and subsequently turned to Islam. Both Mārtiņš' and his friend's forum posts ceased on the same day in August 2014, and later on the Finn told YLE that he had joined the Islamic State with his sole friend - a young man from Latvia.

The Security Police said Monday that the criminal process against this person was initially launched in 2015 for illegally participating in armed conflicts abroad but revealed neither the person's identity nor gender.

This summer, the Security Police received information from Turkish authorities who had detained him. He was deported back to Latvia earlier in September and taken into custody by local authorities.

Persons illegally participating in a foreign armed conflict can face up to ten years in prison.

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