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Düsseldorf court convicts man for joining 'Islamic State'

The German national has been charged with training and fighting alongside the terror group. Though he has denied some of the claims, he has also expressed his regret.

The city's high court on Thursday issued the sentence, ordering the 22-year-old to serve two and a half years in prison for belonging to the terrorist group "Islamic State," or "IS."

The defendant, referred to in court documents as Nezet S., confessed to traveling to Syria during the period of July 23 through August 18 to train with the organization. However, he denied participating in actual combat fighting with "IS," with his lawyer insisting that he left the training camp once faced with the reality of the regiment's brutality, according to German broadcaster WDR.

Once back in Germany, the convicted man acknowledged the "great stupidity" of what he'd done, claiming he was "happy to be back again," German news agency dpa reported.

Judge Barbara Havliza emphasized in her ruling that Nezet S. had provided valuable insight into the training practices and day-to-day routines of "IS." She also said that he had not been involved in any planned attacks on German soil.

As the number of Westerners traveling abroad to fight alongside terror groups increases, so has concern over the radicalization of Muslim youths in Germany. Authorities have launched raids on suspected recruitment centers and the country's domestic intelligence service has warned that Islamists might be attempting to mobilize some asylum-seekers.

Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

blc/kms (dpa, WDR)

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