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Jail time

October 13, 2009

A Frankfurt court has sent two men to jail for assisting a terrorist organization in its efforts to blow up US bases in Germany. Both confessed to assisting a militant group, but say they are not members of it.

Husseyin O. on the left, and Omid S. on the right.
Huseyin O. (l.) and Omid S. will serve time in jail

The two men, both aged 28, were not accused of conducting a terrorist attack or being part of a terrorist group, but rather of supporting the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), a militant terrorist organization with roots in Uzbekistan.

An Afghan-born German citizen, identified as Omid S., was handed a prison sentence of two years and nine months.

The other defendant, Turkish national Huseyin O., was sentenced to one year and two months in jail.

Federal prosecutors had demanded sentences of three-and-a-half and two-and-a-half years respectively for the men.

Aiding and abetting

Omid S. was convicted of procuring equipment like infra-red sights, night-vision goggles, and a telescopic sight for the IJU. On a visit to an IJU terror training camp spanning the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Omid S. handed over this equipment, plus around $600 (400 euros) and a weapon, the court found.

A screenshot from a recent Al Qaeda video. Cologne's famous cathedral is shown in the top right corner as a possible target.
Al Qaeda have recently threatened attacks on famous German sitesImage: AP/IntelCenter

Before leaving Germany he gave his bank card and PIN number to Adem Yilmaz, a known terrorist. Yilmaz withdrew 500 euros ($740) with the card. As the money was welfare benefit paid out by the German government, Omid S. was also convicted of defrauding the state.

Huseyin O. also planned to take binoculars and a telescopic sight purchased in Germany to the training camp, but he was intercepted by Pakistani security forces before he could hand them over. He also left his German bank card with Yilmaz, who withdrew no money from the account.

Ties to "Sauerland Group"

Yilmaz is one of the Islamic Jihad Union's most prominent members in Germany, and one of four men currently standing trial for planning terrorist attacks in the country.

The four members of the "Sauerland Group" are suspected of planning to blow up the US Ramstein Air Base, located southwest of Frankfurt. Sauerland is the area in western Germany where the men lived when they were planning the attacks.

After an extended surveillance mission, German police caught them with a vast stockpile of explosives and bomb-making equipment at their hideout.


Editor: Nancy Isenson