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Germany

Extremist Cleared of Bomb Planning

A Tunisian Islamic extremist accused of plotting bomb attacks in Berlin was cleared of terrorist charges by a German court on Wednesday but jailed for tax fraud and other offences. Ihsan Garnaoui, 34, was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison by a court in Berlin after being found guilty of tax fraud, forging identity papers, carrying banned weapons and entering Germany illegally. But Garnaoui, the son of an imam, was found not guilty of planning the bomb attacks. The court had heard in evidence that Garnaoui had collected chemicals to use in building an explosive device along with cellular phones and wristwatches with alarm functions that could be used as detonators. He was also accused of recruiting extremists to help in the planned attacks. The prosecution said Garnaoui had been trained at a paramilitary camp in Afghanistan run by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. The lead prosecutor had told the trial that the German authorities were "totally convinced" that Garnaoui had been planning to cause mayhem in the German capital. But the defense argued that although Garnaoui had made threatening comments at a meeting of Islamic militants in Berlin in 2003, it was insufficient proof to convict him of the terrorist charges.

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