Austria denies emergency medical treatment to suspected IS fighter

Austria denies emergency medical treatment to suspected IS fighter
2 min read
10 January, 2018
Temirlan M, 19, is in a coma after being shot in the head. His rejection showcases Austria's new anti-immigration stance influenced by the far-right Freedom Party.
Austrian security services have been heavily involved in investigating European IS networks [AFP]
A 19-year-old suspected Islamic State group fighter was refused passage to Vienna from Georgia for emergency surgery on Wednesday, with Autrian officials saying he would pose a "major" security risk.

Known as Temirlan M, the suspected jihadi is in a coma after being shot in the head during a special forces operation in northern Georgia on December 26, the Kronen Zeitung newspaper reported.

He is believed to be linked to Chechen warlord Akhmed Chatayev, who has been identified as an organiser of a June 2016 triple suicide bombing which killed 44 people and left over 200 wounded at Istanbul's main airport.

Georgian authorities asked that the man receive emergency surgery in a hospital in Vienna, but a spokesman for Austria's interior ministry said the government had vetoed his entrance to the country.

The arrival of Temirlan M would pose a "major risk to domestic security", the spokesman said, adding that possible rescue or blackmail attempts could be made if the man entered the country.

Austria's far-right Freedom Party is led by
Heinz-Christian Stracher [Getty]

A country of 8.7 million people with a large Chechen community, Austria has one of Europe's highest numbers of foreign jihadists per capita.

Austria became the only European government to include far-right ministers in its administration in December 2017, after a coalition was formed between the centre-right Austrian People's Party and the right-wing populist and anti-immigration Freedom Party of Austria, known for its staunch anti-immigration and anti-Islam views. Following coalition talks, the Freedom Party gained control of the interior ministry.

Chatayev was killed during a counter-terror operation in Georgia's capital Tbilisi in November.