The Australian government told Bulgarian authorities a Sydney man in jail in the Balkan state was “interested in terrorism”, his lawyer says.
John Zakhariev is facing allegations he trained in Bulgaria with the intention of fighting in Syria for Islamic State.
His lawyer, Hristo Botev, said the Australian government notified Bulgarian authorities in a letter that Zakhariev had been in Syria in 2013 and “he is interested in terrorism”.
“This is what came from Australia, nothing more,” Mr Botev told the ABC.
In a statement the Australian Federal Police said: “The AFP does not confirm or deny who it may or may not be investigating, nor does it comment on matters of intelligence.”
The department of foreign affairs on Tuesday referred to an earlier statement which said: “The department is providing appropriate consular assistance to an Australian man detained in Bulgaria.”
Local media reported last year investigations into Zacharia began when national security agencies became aware of his “activities”.
It’s alleged there was evidence the 21-year-old had been in contact with terrorists and radical Islamic preachers online.
His father, who died in February, told local TV in Bulgaria in 2016 that Zachariev had a mild form of autism.
He said his son converted to Islam after becoming “disappointed” in pedophile Catholic priests but later returned to Christianity.