AFP | Published: Saturday 28 October 2017
Policemen stand guard in Celle near Hanover, central Germany, in this September 26, 2017 photo. (AFP)
BERLIN: A Frankfurt court has sentenced two men to jail in separate cases for joining extremist fighters in Somalia and Syria.
A Somali-born German national, identified only as 29-year-old Abshir A., was found guilty of membership of a foreign terrorist group for fighting alongside Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab militants.
The court in the western German city handed him a prison term of two years and ten months.
The same court sentenced Turkish-origin Ozkan C., 29, to two years and eight months for joining the militia Junud Al-Sham in Syria.
In the first case, the court said the Mogadishu-born accused left Germany for Somalia in 2012 after becoming radicalized and was active for the militant group until early 2014.
He spent around four months in combat training after arriving, during which time Al-Shabab militia taught him how to handle weapons and employ guerrilla tactics, according to the court statement.
He was then sent to an Al-Shabab base but left “shortly afterwards because of health problems,” it added.
He, however, remained in Somalia until returning to Germany last year when he was arrested at the airport.
The accused denied taking part in any fighting in Somalia, where the Al-Shabab is seeking to overthrow the country’s internationally-backed government.
In the second case, the court said Ozkan C. traveled to Syria with his wife in 2013 to join Junud Al-Sham, many of whose fighters later defected to Daesh.
The accused received weapons training and taught Arabic to other German-speaking radicals, the court said.
He returned to Germany in late 2013 and was arrested last year.
German courts have jailed a number of returning extremists for their membership in terror groups abroad.
Five men were sentenced to prison terms of up to five years in 2016 for having joined the Al-Shabab in Somalia.
In another case that year, a court jailed three young German men for up to four-and-a-half years for having joined extremist fighters in Syria in 2013.