Friday, April 12, 2024

Jamaican teen suspected of being militant stays in custody

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) – A Jamaican judge ruled Thursday that a teenager suspected of hoping to join Islamic extremists in Syria must remain in police custody until next week.

Defence lawyer Zara Lewis had filed an application seeking the 16-year-old boy’s release from police detention. But the magistrate ordered Thursday that he remain in custody until a Tuesday hearing.

Over the weekend, Suriname police said the Jamaican teen was denied entry after arriving at the South American nation’s main airport and planning to get on a flight to the Netherlands. Suriname police said an intelligence agency they did not identify had provided information that the boy apparently intended to travel to Turkey and then cross into Syria to join militants from the Islamic State group.

He was flown back to Jamaica, where he has been in police custody since Saturday.

The counterterrorism branch of Jamaica’s police force is investigating. Assistant Police Commissioner Devon Watkis has said they will provide details about the investigation as soon as possible.

The suspect’s relatives in the farming parish of St Mary have told local media that the youth is wrongly accused. They claim he was traveling to the Netherlands to join his mother, who resides in England. It’s not clear what her immigration status is.

US Gen. John Kelly, who heads the US Southern Command, last month identified Jamaica as one of several Caribbean nations where officials believe recruits have departed for Syria.

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