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German court jails man for promoting Qaeda online
June 19, 2008 / 12:40 PM / 9 years ago

German court jails man for promoting Qaeda online

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German court on Thursday sentenced an Iraqi man to three years in jail for distributing messages by al Qaeda leaders on the Internet.

<p>Al Qaeda recruits are seen marching in this frame grab from an undated training video at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. A German court on Thursday sentenced an Iraqi man to three years in jail for distributing messages by al Qaeda leaders on the Internet. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

The court in the northern town of Celle said there was enough evidence that 37-year old chatroom administrator Ibrahim R. had placed several texts by Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri online since 2005.

Judge Wolfgang Siolek said the accused, a father of four, had considered himself a distributor of al Qaeda’s messages.

German security experts have highlighted the growing importance of the so-called “virtual jihad”, saying militant Islamists have turned to Internet chatrooms in their efforts to recruit young followers.

Siolek said Thursday’s sentence was also meant as a warning to others. The court convicted Ibrahim R. for attracting members or supporters of a foreign terrorist organization, but said the Iraqi’s own membership of a terrorist group had not been proven.

Defense lawyers had sought an acquittal on the grounds of freedom of speech and religion.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Kerstin Gehmlich; editing by Mark Trevelyan

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