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Germany's top court overturns acquittal of "Sharia Police"

Salafist preacher Sven Lau appears behind a bullet-proof window at a high-security courtroom in Duesseldorf, Germany April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s federal supreme court on Thursday overturned the 2016 acquittal of seven Muslim men who formed a Sharia street patrol in the western German city of Wuppertal, according to its website.

The men walked the streets of Wuppertal at night wearing orange vests emblazoned with the words “Sharia Police” and sought to discourage young men from visiting bars and brothels and drinking alcohol.

The group, including Islamist preacher Sven Lau who was sentenced to a prison term for supporting a foreign terrorist organization in July, had been charged with breaking German laws prohibiting uniforms expressing a shared political opinion.

A lower court in Wuppertal had acquitted them, saying the men’s uniforms were not threatening or intimidating.

The federal supreme court, ordering a retrial, said on Thursday that decision did not explain how the men’s action might have affected the people they targeted.

Reporting By Riham Alkousaa; editing by Ralph Boulton