18 Dec 2014

Reports of further arrests in Shami Witness case

Reports in India suggest that three youths who interacted with the influential pro-Islamic State Shami Witness Twitter account have been detained by police.

The Times of India reported today that anti-terrorist police in the state of Madhya Pradesh arrested three youths on Wednesday night for interacting with the pro-Islamic State tweeter Shami Witness.

Reports say that three youths are being interrogated by police for allegedly retweeting some of the most graphic posts from the Shami Witness twitter account.

But local police deny any arrest had taken place. Inspector General Srinivas Rao told the Times of India: “Some other agency must (be) working on it…not us,” adding that “detentions” could just be a rumour.

An investigation by Channel 4 News revealed the man operating the Shami Witness account was an executive in Bangalore working for an Indian conglomerate.

Shami Witness arrest

Indian police later arrested a man they named as 24-year-old Mehdi Masroor Biswas on suspicion of offences of cyber terrorism and crimes against the state. Police said that he confirmed that he was the man behind the Shami Witness account.

Police are also reportedly investigating 50 “objectionable” emails allegedly sent by the youths to Mr Biswas.

Mr Biswas is still being held in police custody.

The Shami Witness account spoke to British jihadis regularly, before they left to join Islamic State fighters, after they arrived, and if they died he praised them as martyrs.

After being contacted by Channel 4 News, Mehdi shut down the Shami Witness Twitter account.