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German court convicts Syrian refugee minor for bomb plans

April 10, 2017

The court found the boy declared a desire to carry out a bombing, but the plan was in an early stage. Judges said the boy's loneliness at the refugee center and time on the internet contributed to his radicalization.

Deutschland Landgericht Köln
Image: picture-alliance/dpa /O. Berg

A German court in the western city of Cologne on Monday convicted a 16-year-old Syrian refugee for planning to carry out a terror attack.

The regional court sentenced the defendant, whose name wasn't made public in line with privacy laws, to two years in youth prison.

Police arrested the boy at a refugee center near Cologne, where he was living with his parents, in September. A battery carrier with wires, sewing needles and a small butane gas canister were found in the defendant's possession during the raid.

The court found enough evidence that the boy had declared himself willing to carry out an attack in an internet chat with "a person close to the 'Islamic State' in Israel." He also received instructions on how to make a bomb.

Judges said the terror plan was in a very early stage and there was no threat to the public.

The court attributed the boy's radicalization to loneliness at the refugee center and spending most of his time on a cell phone.

"In addition, he spent a lot of time online and with chat contacts," the court said. "Through these contacts he developed an Islamist-jihadist worldview."

The boy denied his intent to carry out an attack was serious.  The court didn't believe him. 

Among the witness was the boy's father, a merchant who described himself in a statement as belonging the opposition against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The boy came to Germany in 2015 with both his parents and sister after they fled the civil war in Syria.

cw/kms (AFP, AP, dpa)

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