The Federal Court of Justice has upheld a suspended sentence for the Bavarian mom who took her daughters to Syria. Prosecutors had been seeking a harsher verdict due to firearms training the woman received in Syria.
Germany's Federal Court of Justice upheld a verdict on Tuesday against a Bavarian woman who converted to Islam and took her two daughters to Syria in 2014. The woman now faces an 18-month suspended sentence for child abduction, since the children, ages three and seven at the time, were taken without the knowledge of their father.
Initially, prosecutors sought to secure a stricter, three-year sentence for the "preparation of a serious act of violent subversion." While in Syria, the 30-year-old woman learned how to operate automatic pistols, hand grenades and assault rifles. They argued that her willingness to arm herself in Syria put her in violation of the law, but the court disagreed.
According to the court, the woman did not actively fight in Syria despite receiving firearms training there. The judges determined that the training was purely for the protection of her children at their home, supporting Munich's regional court ruling.
The woman converted to Islam in 2012 and traveled to Syria in January of 2014 with her children to become the "second wife" of a "jihadist" on the Al-Nusra-Front. The escalating violence in the area led her to return with her children in May 2014, where police greeted her at Frankfurt Airport. The children now live with their father.
There are concerns that the ruling will hinder law enforcement measures with similar cases in the future, conceded Lothar Maur from the German Federal Prosecutors' Office. His office has yet to make a final analysis of the verdict, as the Court of Justice has not released the full version of it yet.
However, Maur makes one thing clear: "The verdict will have no signal effect on those who wish to travel to Syria." Those going to Syria ignore the German legal system and will not take the verdict into consideration when traveling there, according to Maur.
The number of Islamists in Germany traveling to Syria has risen to around 740, reported the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Many of those travelers are women.
Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and requires us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.
rs/ng (AFP, dpa, epd)