MPs are demanding explanations over security authorities’ ‘treatment’ of two Daesh militants, who made their lives in Portugal over the last few years.
The two men – brothers Yasser and Ammar Ameen – are now in preventive custody in Monsanto high-security prison, facing various terrorism related charges (click here).
But the stories coming out about them have ruffled feathers.
Not only was young brother Yasser able to freely interact with high-ranking political figures visiting his employers’ Lisbon restaurant – elder brother Ammar frequently threatened people with violent acts, principally when things weren’t running smoothly for him.
He told a public sector worker that he would “blow up the Portuguese Refugee Council” as well as destroy the man’s office. On another occasion he vowed he would commit suicide on the steps of a public building ‘for all journalists to see’.
Ammar, 34, was labelled so “unstable” early on in his application for Portuguese residency, that he never actually received it.
Nonetheless both men were supported by Social Security, Santa Casa da Misericórdia and the Portuguese Refugee Council – and politicians want to understand ‘why’.
President Marcelo, who unwittingly posed for a selfie with Yasser, has tried to take the heat out of the situation by saying he regularly goes out among everyday people, without knowing if one of them might be a terrorist.
He went so far as saying that his own security detail hadn’t been informed of the presence of ‘a suspect in the restaurant’ (run to help integrate refugees), but that this could have been part of ‘a strategy’ in which security services were watching the young man.
Parliamentary body CFSIRP – standing for the council for the monitoring of Portugal’s secret services – is not convinced.
It is calling for clarification from SIRP (the Portuguese secret service) that information on these men, and the activities they are suspected of, was duly passed to national police forces.
CFSIRP’s concern is that the safety of leading political figures – like President Marcelo, prime minister António Costa and quite a few others, including former President of the Republic Jorge Sampaio – was put at risk.
Both men are suspected of being involved in the planning of a terrorist attack in Germany (we are not told more than this).
A source “with knowledge of internal security” has assured Correio da Manhã that none of this means there was a failure in security on national soil.
Nonetheless, it is a moot point – hence why MPs on the CFSIRP want to hear the secretary -general of SIRP, Maria da Graça Mira Gomes.
Commenting on this strange and tortured story today, Eduardo Dâmaso, director of Sábado online, uses the word “absurd”.
None of the explanations given this far seem to make sense, he writes, which suggests “terrible amateurism”.
… Amateurism, or clever security service vigilance? The jury is still out.