May 5 (UPI) — Brazilian federal judge Marcos Josegrei da Silva has imprisoned eight Islamic State supporters who planned to attack the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Josegrei da Silva, who presides in the Paraná state, sentenced the ringleader of the group, identified as Leonid El Kadre de Melo, to 15 years in prison, while the other men were jailed five to six years.
The men, Brazilian nationals who said they would appeal, were using the Internet, particularly social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to attempt to connect with Islamic State members in order to coordinate attacks against gay people, Shiite Muslims, Jews and foreigners during the Olympics, Josegrei da Silva said.
The FBI helped Brazilian authorities in the investigation. The men were tried and convicted under a new anti-terrorism law in Brazil for planning to carry out a chemical attack during the Olympics, Jornal O Globo reported.
“The condemned exalted and celebrated terrorist acts already carried out worldwide, including the posting of videos and photos of public executions of people by the Islamic State, arrived at guidelines on how to take the oath to the leader of the group, and reached discussions on possible targets for attacks they could carry out in Brazil with guidance on the manufacture of homemade bombs, the use of [melee weapons] and the acquisition of firearms,” Josegrei da Silva wrote in the decision.
The sentences were part of a federal anti-terrorism investigation called Operation Hashtag that began a month prior to the start of the Olympics. The men were arrested on Aug. 4 — the day before the Olympic opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro. Operation Hashtag led to the arrest of 15 people total.