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Court fines alleged 'Shariah police' members

May 27, 2019

Members of a "Shariah police" vigilante group have been handed fines for donning illegal uniforms. The men had attempted to impose a "Shariah controlled zone" in the western German city of Wuppertal.

'Shariah' police
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/O. Berg

A German court found seven alleged members of a self-styled "Shariah police" guilty of violating rules on wearing uniforms after a retrial in the western city of Wuppertal.

The defendants, men aged between 27 and 37, face fines ranging from €300 to €1,800 ($335 to $2,015) for violating Germany's laws against wearing uniforms.

Monday's acquittal comes at the end of a second trial for the group after Germany's Federal Court of Justice threw out their original 2016 acquittal.

Accused 'Sharia police' members on trial in Wuppertal
Accused 'Shariah police' members enter a court room in WuppertalImage: picture-alliance/dpa/H. Kaiser

'Shariah-controlled zone'

The accused patrolled the streets of Wuppertal in September 2014 dressed in orange vests bearing the words "Shariah police." They handed out leaflets declaring the area a "Shariah-controlled zone," where alcohol, music and pornography were banned under Islam's Shariah law.

The men were accused of infringing uniform laws, but judges in the Wuppertal District Court acquitted them of the charges in November 2016 after they determined that they was not enough proof that they were breaking the law.

However, the Federal Court of Justice, Germany's constitutional court, overturned the acquittal and ordered a retrial in January 2018, determining that the district court had not examined the impact of the vigilantes' actions on the public.

At the time of the "Shariah police" patrol, the men were led by Sven Lau, one of Germany's most renowned Salafi preachers. He was himself sentenced in 2017 to a 5 1/2 year prison sentence after being convicted of "supporting a terrorist organization" in a separate case.

Last week, a German court ordered the release of Lau, who had been behind bars since 2015

dv/ng (AFP, AP, dpa)

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