A court in the western German town of Wuppertal has ruled that men who preached radical Islamist views while wearing jackets marked 'sharia police' will not be prosecuted. The incident sparked controversy in Germany.
The court in Wuppertal ruled on Thursday that the nine men, all followers of the ultra-conservative Salafist form of Islam, did not break the law and would not be prosecuted.
The men, dressed in orange jackets marked "sharia police" had patrolled the streets of Wuppertal, in the industrial Ruhr region, in the summer of 2014. They had demanded people at nightclubs stop drinking alcohol and listening to music. The men, aged between 24 and 34 years old, also called for an end to gambling as they carried notices, in English, declaring a "Sharia Controlled Zone."
The court ruled that wearing orange jackets did not constitute a breach of rules on wearing uniforms.
A German Salafist convert, Sven Lau, who acted as leader of the group could face charges over the organization of a public meeting without notifying authorities.
At the time, Chancellor Angela Merkel commented that no one had the right to do the police's work for them. Wuppertal Police Chief Birgitta Rademacher said: "Intimidation or provocation won't be tolerated," adding that only police appointed and employed by the state had the legitimate right to act as police in Germany.
Prosecutors have lodged an appeal.
jm/bw (dpa, AFP)