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Bulgaria Cuts Jail Term For Australian Would-be Jihadist

Sofia, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 15th Mar, 2018 ):A Bulgarian appeals court has slashed to two-and-a-half years the jail term of an Australian who tried to join the Islamic State group -- the first terror-related conviction in the country.

John "Ivan" Zahariev, who holds dual Australian and Bulgarian nationality, was sentenced last June to four years for having taken shooting lessons in 2016 "with the aim of participating in terrorist activities".

But on Wednesday an appeals court confirmed that the sentence has been cut to two and a half years.

The court hasn't yet published its ruling so the reason the sentence was reduced was not immediately clear.

A court spokeswoman said Zahariev had not appealed the sentence and that the deadline for doing so had passed. Zahariev had travelled to Syria in 2013 and attempted to join Islamic State, but was turned back because of his lack of fighting skills, prosecutors said at his initial trial.

Checks on his computer showed he had regularly visited websites with articles and videos about the Islamist Al-Nusra group and Islamic State. The special court ruling was the first terror-related conviction in Bulgaria, which is considered a major transit point for would-be Islamic State fighters travelling from Western Europe to Syria and Iraq.

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